27/03/2012 Midlands Today


27/03/2012

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

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The headlines tonight: A judge gives gypsies illegally

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camped on greenbelt land a year to move off, leaving residents fuming.

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They should've only been given a certain amount of time, like six to

:00:15.:00:20.

eight weeks. You've been given a year, what do

:00:20.:00:27.

you think? Elated, brilliant. That's what we think, brilliant.

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Petrol stations here are worried over impending tanker driver

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strikes and whether the army can step in. We'll have to be certain

:00:33.:00:36.

that they're trained, otherwise we can't let them on our site.

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He's tipped for Olympic glory, but he's still found time to go back

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and inspire youngsters at his old school.

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And they're taking over our homes and gardens - the invasion of the

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Good evening and welcome to Tuesday's Midlands Today. Tonight,

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a just and pragmatic solution - that's how a judge has summed up a

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ruling which will force gypsies off greenbelt land in Meriden. But his

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decision to give them a year to leave the site has left campaigners,

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desperate to move them, furious. They wanted a quicker end to what's

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already been a two-year legal battle. The unauthorised gypsy camp

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was first set up in Meriden on 30th April 2010. The next day, residents

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started a 24-hour vigil outside the camp. On 7th July 2010, Solihull

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Council rejected an application by travellers to develop the greenbelt

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site in Meriden. More than a year later, the gypsies lost their

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appeal for retrospective planning permission in a ruling by Secretary

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of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles. At the

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start of February this year, the residents were told they'd have to

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remove their camp which has kept that daily 24-hour vigil since 2010.

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Sarah Falkland reports on today's SINGING. The euphoria did not last.

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There may have been cheers as a High Court judge threw out the

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gypsies' latest appeal backing the Secretary of State's ruling that

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the development in Meriden was harmful to the green belt but a few

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hours later, the same judge granted an injunction put forward by

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Solihull Council which meant the gypsies could now stay for another

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year. Elated, brilliant. That is what we think. Brilliant. Now we

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can work with the council even closer about finding a suitable

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site and hopefully they will come up with something. The gypsies

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health needs and their children's schooling were key factor in the

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injunction. The residents said they should have been moved on more

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quickly. I am upset about it because I think it is too long.

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feel bitterly disappointed. It is not in total with the views of the

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residents but what we have achieved today is a definitive end to the

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dispute. Solihull Council say they are pleased to put an end to a

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period of uncertainty. Today's agreement gives a firm date for the

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families living on the land to make an ordered vacation of the site and

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also assures a speedy restoration of the land to its previous

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condition. There may now be a finite end to this but the dispute

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has taken its toll on both sides. One of the gypsies has cerebral

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palsy. It has affected everything., our leads socially. This is not the

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best situation in the world -- our lives socially. At least we are not

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facing eviction in 28 days and giving us hope and time. The judge

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described this as pragmatic which he hoped would give peace of mind

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to both sides. The gypsies have until 4pm on 31st March to leave

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You can read more about the argument over the development of

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the site on the BBC Birmingham website.

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Thanks for joining us. Later in the programme, smuggling on the rise as

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hundreds of thousands of illegal cigarettes are seized in one county

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:04:39.:04:40.

alone in the last year and a half. The Independent Police Complaints

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Commission have confirmed that they're aware of the disappearance

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of a substantial amount of cash seized as evidence by Warwickshire

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Police. The BBC has learned that the cash had been stored in former

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wine cellars at the force's mansion headquarters in Leek Wootton. Joan

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Cummins joins us now from our Coventry studio. Warwickshire

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Police have announced they are conducting a criminal investigation

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into the disappearance of �113,000. The cash was, according to the

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police, held in a secured storage area. I understand this was in a

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box in the cellars of the building. The cash had been seized under the

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proceeds of crime Act in 2009. In 2010, three individuals were

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subsequently convicted for a variety of offences. But the

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disappearing cash did not come to light until 20th September 11. The

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Chief Constable at the time of Keith Bristow and is now the head

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of the National crime agency. The matter was referred to the

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Independent Police Complaints Commission who decided that the

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matter can be conferred -- investigated locally and that is

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being investigated by the anti- corruption unit of the force. The

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police authority have refused to comment on the matter and others

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regard the incident as extremely serious and want the reassurances

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that it will be investigated fully pulls up what has been the reaction

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of the pause? You can imagine that this has caused a lot of

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embarrassment -- what has been the They said basically this was part

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of the investigation and that they want to spread the news across the

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force and also arcing people to contact Crimestoppers if they have

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information -- also asking people. A report into last summer's rioting

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in the West Midlands and across the UK says that a lack of support and

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opportunity for young people was one of the reasons for them

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starting. The Riots, Communities and Victims Panel also cited poor

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parenting, too much emphasis on materialism and a lack of

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confidence in the police. In the Midlands there were 770 arrests,

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but fewer than 300 people were actually charged in connection with

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the riots. The whole incident cost West Midlands Police �12 million.

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Joanne Writtle has been gathering reaction from some of the people

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caught up in last August's problems. Rioting raged for three nights last

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August in Birmingham, West Bromwich, Cape Hill and Wolverhampton. These

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the scenes at a coffee shop in Birmingham. Ransacked and left with

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�15,000 in damage. The owner later received royal visitors. Today he

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was outspoken about the report from the Riots, Communities and Victims

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Panel, in its comments about poor parenting and issues facing young

:07:28.:07:38.
:07:38.:07:41.

people. There's not even one line mentioned about the families of the

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people affected in the riots. Those people whose shops were looted.

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What is the plan and what is the Government planning to do for those

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people? Brothers Shahzad Ali and Abdul

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Musavir and Haroon Jahan were hit by a car in Winson Green. A floral

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shrine quickly built up. Eight people have denied murder and go on

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trial next month. Seven months on, it is business as usual here. The

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flowers may have long gone but memories remain.

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This man is a mechanic close by. And this is his view on the report.

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I still say it is for the parents, they have the most responsibility

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for the children. Before the Government stepped in.

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The independent report's due out tomorrow. Recommendations are wide-

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ranging, including more help to get young people into work. A point

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pertinent to the West Midlands, where one in five youngsters is

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And there'll be more reaction to the Riot Panel report here on BBC

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Midlands Today tomorrow, when we hear from local MPs.

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Two men who died in a crash on the M5 on Saturday have been named.

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Liaquat Ali who was 35 and from Smethwick was a passenger on the

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bus and died at the scene. 65-year- old lorry driver William Mapstone

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from Somerset died in hospital. It happened when his lorry hit a

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single-decker bus on the southbound carriageway close to junction three

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at Frankley. The driver of the bus, a 49-year-old Birmingham man,

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remains on bail in connection with the incident.

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The Government will publish its plans for the second phase of the

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HS2 high-speed rail project in the autumn. The second phase envisages

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a Y-shaped line continuing north of Birmingham through Staffordshire to

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Manchester and Leeds with connections further north and into

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Scotland. It would be completed around 2032/33.

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Petrol retailers say they're concerned about the army being

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brought in to deliver fuel if there's strike by tanker drivers.

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Their trade association, RMI Petrol, says although no date has been

:09:55.:09:59.

announced for the action, the army has yet to be properly trained.

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Drivers have voted unanimously in favour of strike in a dispute over

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pay and conditions. Our transport New pump technology on display at a

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trade show in the Midlands. But refurbishing forecourts was the

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last thing on people's minds today with the threat of a tanker

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It is just escalating and it is benefiting nobody. I am not

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bothered. I have to use my automobile to make a living and it

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makes life difficult. If it is something they have to do, I think

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they need support. And the trade association which

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represents petrol retailers is concerned that delivering problems

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could force even more forecourts out of business. This is ramping up

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the wholesale price. A big tanker is �55,000, but is a lot of money

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for a retainer to find in a daze. - - in eight days. Historically

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stocking West, blocking cash flows. It's all reminiscent of the fuel

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blockades of the year 2000. Within days, many filling stations ran out

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of fuel and rationing was introduced.

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And if there is a strike, things could be worse than in 2000.

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Because there are fewer petrol stations around and therefore fewer

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places to store fuel. In 1998 there were 14,500 petrol retailers.

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That's dropped to 8,500 today. Putting a potential squeeze on what

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remains. The big question is how well Pascal stations like this be

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affected if and when a strike is called? -- the big question is how

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well petrol stations like this. They could run out of fuel fairly

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quickly. And there are also concerns about

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what happens if the Government calls in the army to deliver fuel.

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Week as retailers will be responsible and must make sure they

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are trained otherwise we cannot allow them on our side.

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But not every fuel depot will be affected. At this facility in

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Birmingham, drivers won't be taking part in any strike. It is a family

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business, why would we want to go on strike when we have got bills to

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pay? At the oil depot at Kingsbury in

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Warwickshire it was business as usual today because so far no dates

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have been announced. If the situation can't be resolved, then

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it's most likely that drivers will walk out sometime around Easter.

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And Peter's at a filling station in Birmingham tonight. What are the

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companies that employ the driver saying about the threat of strikes?

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Apart the largest inland depot for the storage of fuel, Kingsbury, the

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biggest company is Wincanton and they say that it is disappointing

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to see that some of our drivers have voted in favour of industrial

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action which we believe is wholly unnecessary, that is their

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statement. They say the exact reason for the dispute remains

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unclear and they say they are committed to a dialogue with

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workers. They say their drivers are among the best rewarded in the

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industry and they say they are defiant that there should be no

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reason for the strike. Could talks stop these strikes going ahead?

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Which will represent does have been meeting in London to discuss

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basically the results of the overwhelming strike ballot and they

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say that no talks are planned with employers at the moment and that

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indicates a wide gap between the two which normal circumstances

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would mean that strike action is inevitable. We could see some

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strike dates announced as early as tomorrow if the meeting goes ahead.

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If they want to hold strikes over Easter, then they must have

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announced by Thursday because legally unions have to give seven

:13:41.:13:51.
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If you're a smoker, a packet of 20 cigarettes can now set you back

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over �8. With alcohol prices set to rise as well, it maybe no surprise

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that the smuggling trade appears to be booming. Hundreds of thousands

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of illegal cigarettes have been seized in the Midlands. One MP

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believes that's just the tip of the iceberg.

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A small fraction of the illegal cigarettes seized by Trading

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Standards in Herefordshire in recent months. We have received

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around a third of a million cigarettes or hand-rolling tobacco

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products. Most of it is coming from Eastern Europe. But certainly some

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stuff is produced in China. it's legitimate retailers like

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Stephen Beddards who are paying the price. I know there are quite a few

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shops within Hereford where under the counter at cigarettes are

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readily available at more or less half the price that I am selling

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mine for. So around four pounds. What impact does it have on your

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business? What impact do you think? They are spending money elsewhere.

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With illegal alcohol also a problem, in the Commons the local MP called

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for harsher punishments for the smugglers. It is not enough just to

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seize goods and impose these relatively modest fines, they must

:15:06.:15:11.

be able to close down promises for significant periods of time where

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there have been repeated violations of the law. But the Treasury

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Minister insisted the Government is tackling the problem. Substantial

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enforcement activity is already carried out and those involved in

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the fraud are already penalised. all know that smoking is bad for

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you but when you smell cigarettes you at least expect to smell

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tobacco. Smell in here and it's absolutely disgusting. Other fake

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cigarettes have been found to contain rat poison, rat faeces and

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even arsenic. But as we discovered, people are still willing to take

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the risk. Why did you buy illegal cigarettes? Because they were

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cheaper. It does it worry you what is in them? Not really, they are

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all bad for you anywhere. This nationwide problem is costing

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the country millions of pounds in lost revenue. The National

:15:57.:16:00.

Federation of Retailers says it now wants to see more funding given to

:16:00.:16:10.
:16:10.:16:11.

Trading Standards to tackle the Quite horrifying, the contents of

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those fake cigarettes. Still to come this evening: the

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downside of the warm weather, as our own much-loved ladybirds are

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under threat from their oversized continental cousins. But of course

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the upside of the weather is the chance to enjoy this wonderful

:16:24.:16:27.

sunshine. And if you thought today was warm... Well, just wait until

:16:27.:16:37.
:16:37.:16:39.

tomorrow. The full forecast is Campaigners are calling for a

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public inquiry over plans to redesign the road layout in their

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town. The �5 million plans for the centre of Leek in Staffordshire

:16:49.:16:53.

would see the introduction of a so- called "shared space" at a busy A-

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road junction. Kevin Reide reports. Campaigners vent their frustrations

:16:57.:17:00.

outside Staffordshire Moorlands District Council in Leek last week

:17:00.:17:05.

over plans to redesign the town centre's roads. They're

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particularly unhappy at the removal of an iconic traffic island and the

:17:08.:17:10.

creation of a so-called "shared space" where pedestrians and

:17:10.:17:19.

traffic use the same area. The so- called shared space would be

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created here behind me opposite the town's Nickleson Memorial. It would

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involve the removal of this roundabout and there are real

:17:28.:17:30.

concerns amongst the protesters today particularly about their

:17:30.:17:34.

safety. Rick Martin Bacon has 60% normal vision and is particularly

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worried. I am being discriminated against. The simple reason - I have

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partial sight. They do not have the right to do this. But they seem

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hell-bent on doing it. I want these people to stop. People love this

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roundabout. It is the iconic kicked way to Leek. It is iconic and we

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love it. -- it is the iconic gateway to Leek.

:18:03.:18:06.

The council says the town is in danger of gridlock and the changes

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have been needed for decades. They've been prompted now because

:18:09.:18:12.

millions of pounds is being offered by Sainsburys as part of a deal for

:18:12.:18:18.

this new supermarket. The authority also says safety will be a priority.

:18:18.:18:21.

People are working very hard to make sure that every safety aspect

:18:21.:18:25.

is looked at and considered. Work is set to start soon but the

:18:25.:18:28.

protesters are hoping to bring it to a halt and have written to the

:18:28.:18:32.

Government demanding a public inquiry.

:18:32.:18:35.

Cricket now and Ian Bell's performance with the bat was a rare

:18:35.:18:38.

high point for England in the first test against Sri Lanka today.

:18:38.:18:41.

Bell's been under pressure after struggling in the series defeat

:18:41.:18:45.

against Pakistan. But today in Galle he was England's top scorer

:18:45.:18:51.

in the first innings with 52. But England slumped to 193 all out. Sri

:18:51.:18:55.

Lanka lead by 209 runs with five second innings wickets left.

:18:55.:18:57.

Port Vale supporters are being warned not to travel without a

:18:57.:19:01.

ticket for tonight's important League Two game at Shrewsbury Town.

:19:01.:19:04.

A big police operation's in place for the match which is vital to

:19:04.:19:07.

Shrewsbury's chances of automatic promotion. A win could lift them

:19:07.:19:13.

six points clear of the play-off places, with just seven games to go.

:19:13.:19:16.

And there's full commentary on that game on both BBC Radio Shropshire

:19:16.:19:26.
:19:26.:19:29.

and BBC Radio Stoke this evening It is four months exactly to the

:19:29.:19:36.

opening ceremony of London 2012 and a doctor is getting ready to treat

:19:36.:19:42.

the athletes. For I will check to see if there are fluids in your

:19:42.:19:49.

knee. This is Dr Leon Creaney's day job.

:19:49.:19:52.

Helen Smith landed badly during a Premier League netball match and

:19:52.:19:55.

has damaged her knee. It's his skill as a sports specialist which

:19:55.:19:57.

has landed him the greatest job in the world.

:19:57.:20:00.

Dr Creaney will be one of just four doctors to go trackside and treat

:20:01.:20:07.

the world's premier athletes during the nine days of the Olympic Games.

:20:07.:20:12.

Me and my colleagues have worked towards this. We have a speciality

:20:12.:20:14.

in the United Kingdom. Last week, he picked up bronze

:20:14.:20:18.

himself in the 200 metres at the British Masters, but he is looking

:20:18.:20:25.

forward to seeing the greats of sprinting. A big draw are some of

:20:25.:20:28.

the Jamaican sprinter is, people like Usain Bolt.

:20:28.:20:31.

Footballer Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest ten days ago brings into

:20:31.:20:39.

focus just how vital medical staff can be. We are fully trained in

:20:39.:20:41.

dealing with emergencies, whether they beat heart problems,

:20:41.:20:45.

respiratory problems or traumatic injuries. People can break their

:20:45.:20:50.

legs. That has happened in track- and-field and indoor races. People

:20:50.:20:56.

cannot fall right off the vault and we must be prepared for any

:20:56.:21:03.

eventuality. One of the great legacies of the Olympic Games will

:21:03.:21:07.

they will be able to treat patients long after the Games are over. And

:21:07.:21:17.
:21:17.:21:17.

hopefully more people will lead a Today one Olympic hopeful was

:21:17.:21:20.

looking backwards instead of forwards. High jumper Tom Parsons

:21:20.:21:22.

visited his old school in Birmingham to reminisce and do some

:21:22.:21:30.

coaching, as Dan Pallett found out. Once he was a pupil here. Today Tom

:21:30.:21:38.

Parsons returned to his old school teaching the high jump. A bit scary,

:21:38.:21:45.

this is where it all began for me. I will try to coach some of these

:21:45.:21:48.

kids. I like coming in the sports hall and having a go at the high

:21:49.:21:53.

jump. Pupils at King Edward VI Five Ways School at Bartley Green in

:21:53.:21:56.

Birmingham were delighted to have top class. His old teachers were

:21:56.:22:03.

just pleased to see him. He was fun and studious but could also be

:22:03.:22:10.

cheeky. He was also a very nice lad. He is now passing on his knowledge

:22:10.:22:13.

to the next generation. And they were also treated to

:22:13.:22:17.

seeing Tom in action, albeit at a much lower height than he's capable

:22:17.:22:20.

of. Tom was eighth at the Beijing Olympics. He's now 27 and must jump

:22:20.:22:30.

to his personal best of 2.31 metres just to qualify for London 2012. I

:22:30.:22:34.

had an operation on my ankle in November and since Christmas it has

:22:34.:22:39.

been going well. I have got a new coaching set-up. I am in as good a

:22:39.:22:43.

shape if not better than ever. By a pretty confident to get in the team.

:22:44.:22:52.

And then once I know I am in the And today he showed a talent for

:22:53.:22:57.

coaching when his jumping days are over.

:22:57.:22:59.

Chances are with all this magnificent weather we've been

:22:59.:23:03.

having, you've probably spent some time outside. You may also have

:23:03.:23:06.

noticed the odd ladybird or two. Sadly, one of England's most

:23:06.:23:09.

recognisable insects is under threat, from a foreign invader. Ben

:23:09.:23:16.

Sidwell has been to see the good They're one of the first signs of

:23:16.:23:19.

spring and instantly recognisable. But the little ladybirds we've

:23:19.:23:24.

grown up with are facing a threat from their own kind. A bigger and

:23:24.:23:26.

more ferocious ladybird, called the Harlequin, which has invaded our

:23:26.:23:36.
:23:36.:23:37.

shores from Europe. The first Harlequin ladybirds were spotted in

:23:38.:23:42.

2004 in the UK and they have mood about 100 kilometres north which

:23:42.:23:48.

means now they are becoming a real pest. White here in the Midlands. -

:23:48.:23:50.

- right here. At Altek Midlands Environmental

:23:50.:23:53.

Services in Frankley they're used to dealing with pests, such as

:23:53.:23:55.

wasps, rats or even bedbugs. Recently the Harlequin ladybird has

:23:55.:24:04.

been added to the list and the number of cases are quickly rising.

:24:04.:24:08.

They are literally eating our native species so they are becoming

:24:08.:24:14.

more prominent and overpowering the normal ladybirds that we just take

:24:14.:24:16.

for granted. While British ladybirds shelter

:24:16.:24:18.

outside during the winter, the Harlequin prefers the warmth of a

:24:18.:24:21.

building. Causing problems like the one at this office in Harborne in

:24:21.:24:30.

Birmingham. These are the ones, huge clusters, rooms. They can take

:24:30.:24:35.

over a whole house, thousands can take over. No harm but huge

:24:35.:24:37.

nuisance factor. For entomologists like Professor

:24:37.:24:40.

Moray Anderson, however, there's a bigger concern than just the pest

:24:40.:24:43.

problem. The Harlequin threatens the very existence of our 46 native

:24:43.:24:53.
:24:53.:24:54.

ladybird species. The United States, there it has taken over in many

:24:54.:24:58.

areas as being the most predominant lady bird species whereas the

:24:58.:25:01.

native ladybirds have been literally destroyed by it.

:25:01.:25:04.

For the foreign ladybird invaders in this office, it's the end of the

:25:04.:25:07.

line. While the Harlequin may be good news for pest control firms,

:25:07.:25:10.

the hope is it won't mean the disappearance of the British

:25:10.:25:20.
:25:20.:25:23.

Glorious weather again today, let's find out what is in store for

:25:23.:25:32.

The weather is giving us some great contrast at the moment. Bidets are

:25:32.:25:38.

Sunni and very warm but the nights are a different story. -- the days

:25:38.:25:46.

are very sunny and warm. We got down to minus one Celsius but today

:25:46.:25:50.

all the way up to 18 degrees, a 19 degree difference in the course of

:25:50.:25:54.

one day and we will see similar contrast tonight because after the

:25:55.:25:57.

sunshine of today, be clear skies will allow all that heat to escape

:25:57.:26:03.

into the atmosphere and allowed temperatures to really plans. A

:26:03.:26:11.

touch of frost and the odd isolated patch of four -- to really plunge.

:26:11.:26:16.

Dawn is fine and bright and sunny and tomorrow we will see sunshine

:26:16.:26:18.

from dawn work through until dusk, very little cloud and that sunshine

:26:19.:26:22.

will do wonders for the temperatures. Even warmer than

:26:22.:26:29.

today, highs of 22 Celsius which in an amazing 72 in Fahrenheit. That

:26:29.:26:33.

stands us in good stead compared to other parts of continental Europe.

:26:33.:26:37.

If you were thinking of going to France, Portugal or Spain,

:26:38.:26:41.

temperatures not much better than in the Midlands. One place we

:26:41.:26:46.

cannot compete with at the moment is Tenerife, they will be basking

:26:46.:26:52.

in 29 degrees. Tomorrow is the peak of the warmth, and then the ridge

:26:52.:26:58.

of high pressure dominating our weather drift to the west allowing

:26:58.:27:01.

slightly cooler situations. Only dropping back to where they should

:27:01.:27:05.

be there. Around 11 degrees by Saturday. A bit of a change by the

:27:05.:27:10.

end of the week. If you want to follow our latest thoughts on the

:27:10.:27:20.
:27:20.:27:20.

weather, for a loss on Twitter. -- A look at tonight's main headlines:

:27:20.:27:23.

Half a million forgotten families, a report says they hold the key to

:27:23.:27:26.

the causes of last year's riots. It blames everything from poor

:27:26.:27:28.

parenting to schools. And a judge gives gypsies illegally

:27:28.:27:35.

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