The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.
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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today with Nick Owen and Mary Rhodes. The
headlines tonight: Winter's sting in the tail, as snow descends on
the region. But startled holidaymakers carry on camping.
Didn't come away on holiday expecting this. It is different.
is typical British weather. A first look at the new truck which could
bring dozens of jobs to the Potteries. To have something from
Britain released in the market at this time I think is really good
news. The stroke victim who says he is being neglected by his council.
He has only been washed four times in three months. And why the Royal
Shakespeare Company is recruiting in Winson Green.
Good evening and welcome to Wednesday's Midlands Today from the
BBC. Tonight: After last week's mini heatwave, winter returns with
a vengeance. Snow fell today over Shropshire, Birmingham and the
Staffordshire Moorlands, some of it heavy. Drifts in some areas were
knee-deep. Strong winds brought power lines down, while snowploughs
were needed to clear the worst affected roads. The wintry blast
caught some holidaymakers by surprise but, undeterred, they
carried on camping. Andy Newman reports.
The British weather - full of surprises. This was the scene in
Staffordshire today - well over six inches of snow. The Leeds to Buxton
Road had to be closed in places. All of this happened with Easter
just around the corner and the hot sunshine of only a few days ago
still fresh in people's minds. What a difference a week makes! Last
week it was deckchair weather, today it is this. The temperature
is forecast to drop well below zero overnight. Not the conditions that
campers had been expecting when they checked into this site for an
Easter break. Butane gas cylinders are definitely in demand as they
try to keep warm. I wasn't expecting it. Were you hoping for
the weather we had last week? definitely. We were out on Sunday
and the weather was glorious. We were wearing T-shirts. For it is
different! It is lovely, really. I have never been away in a motor
home when it has been snowing, so it is a bit different. Glorious,
isn't it? After the last fortnight, this is typical British weather.
Typical yet unpredictable. And for many of us today, a sharp reminder
of that unpredictability. In fact, it is forecast to get milder as we
head for the bank holiday weekend. That is just in case all this has
got you dreaming of a white Easter. Well, as you saw in Andy's report,
the roads in north Staffordshire were severely affected. We're
joined now by Dean Sargeant from Staffordshire County Council's
gritting depot at Leek. So what were the challenges you faced today
as a result of the bad weather? Well, we have been faced with many
challenges today - trees that have fallen on the roads, snowdrifts
because of the high winds and in some areas abandoned vehicles,
which has caused a few problems when we have been trying to plant
sold some of the Ritz. -- supply 0 and put salt on some of the routes.
-- to use snowploughs. We have been out since three o'clock this
morning gritting the roads across the county. We have had snow
blowers and snowploughs out to try to keep people on the move. What
are the plans for this evening and overnight? We have already had
their gritters out this evening. We will continue to monitor the
weather forecast for the rest of the evening and into the early
years of tomorrow. I would encourage any motorist who
experiences hazardous conditions to get in touch with the council and
we will try to rectify the situation as best we can.
Thank you for joining us. So how much longer is it going to go on
for? Shefali can tell us. Not for much longer. The worst of it is
practically over, and that was bad enough, with snow depths in excess
of 20cm and the worst affected areas. At least it won't be
affecting us over the Easter weekend, but I'll have more on that
later. One of the country's most wanted
men has been arrested in Birmingham after a vehicle was car-jacked with
two toddlers still strapped in the back seats. It happened in
Erdington following reports of a burglary. Anthony Bartram is near
the scene for us this evening. So tell us more about what happened,
Anthony. It must have been a terrifying oil
or -- ordeal for this young mother, caught up in the middle of a major
police operation. They were on the trail of three suspected burglars
who fled the scene of a burglary which was reported. They chase
their getaway car to hear. Three men got out of the car, one of them
then dragged a woman out of her car and sped off with a two young
children - a one-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl - still strapped
into their seats in the back. The police changed -- chase that
vehicle and, that about a mile down the road. The children are safe and
well, thankfully. Police now have a suspect in custody from both the
burglary and the car jacking incident.
What do we know about this man? The man involved -- allegedly
involved, is 44-year-old Cedric Brown. He is already on the police
wanted list in connection with a burglary two years ago in Bristol,
a violent incident, we're told, which featured on Crimewatch. He is
now being questioned in connection with all of those incidents. Truck
dealers and service centres have been getting a first look at a new
truck which it is hoped will bring dozens of jobs to Stoke-on-Trent.
The Longton Avia is being backed by a group of Staffordshire
businessmen who are aiming to set up production in the city once
sales are high enough. An order has already been placed ahead of its
official launch to the market. Liz Copper reports.
Arriving in Longton, the truck that bears this town's name, and with it
hopes of economic rejuvenation. Dealers who will be selling and
servicing the Longton truck were in Stoke-on-Trent to see it on the
road for the first time. But how confident are they that there is
room in the market for this new marque made in the Potteries?
very exciting because, to have something that is from Britain to
be released in the market at this time, I think it is really good
news. I think they're coming in difficult conditions but if they
can crack it while it is like this it should be good in the future.
Initially, the trucks will be made here at a factory in pride in the
Czech Republic. But it is planned to shift production to Stoke-on-
Trent as soon as next year. industrial history that this town
has, I think there is an ethos of manufacturing in Longton. I think
people associate that if a truck is built over here it will be built
well. Are there signs that this sector is seeing a recovery? The MP
for Longton also chairs the all- party Freight Transport Group, and
he believes the outlook is encouraging. The response that we
have had from across the country has been incredible. People have
been saying, about time, we have been waiting for a British truck to
be launched. They want details. moving assembly to the Potteries
would generate jobs and benefit the city's economy. Adventure like this
is going to add millions of pounds -- ventures like this will add
millions of pounds to the local economy and employ more people.
Already, the first orders have been placed for these trucks. It is
hoped it is part of a long and illustrious route ahead which will
boost the region's economy. Liz Copper, BBC Midlands Today, Stoke-
on-Trent. And in Midlands Today at 10:25pm, we will have news of a
significant announcement being made this evening by Jaguar at the New
York Motor Show. Detectives investigating the murder
of a 92 year-old man in the Black Country have arrested a 35-year-old
woman. William Davis, a decorated war veteran, was found with head
injuries at his home in Willenhall on Sunday. Police are now
questioning a woman, believed to be local, on suspicion of murder.
The jury's been sent home for the night in the case of Tariq Jahan,
whose son was one of three men killed in last summer's riots in
Birmingham. Mr Jahan's accused of an unrelated assault on a road in
Handsworth last July as he picked up his wife from work. He denies
assaulting a factory worker, Sajjid Ali, and the jury will resume its
deliberations tomorrow. A 33-year-old man has been
sentenced to 16 months in prison after sending a hoax bomb report to
MI5. Ghulan Kibria used the name of his estranged wife to tell security
service officials there was an explosive device at Prince Albert
Junior and Infant School in Aston in Birmingham. The school was
evacuated of more than 800 pupils and staff as a precaution.
A hundred new jobs are being created in the region's computer
games industry. Codemasters are expanding their headquarters in
Warwickshire as well as their development studio in Birmingham.
The company's one of a growing number of high-tech gaming
companies now based in the West Midlands.
A stroke victim says he has been abandoned in his own home. Colin
Bird lost mobility in his arm and leg two years ago he gets 30
minutes of care every morning and evening and says his house doesn't
provide suitable accommodation for his condition. His friends and
family now say that's got to change. Louise Brierley reports. Friends
say that it is hard to believe that people are living in these
conditions in 21st century Britain. Colin Bird is only 46 years old and
has had two strokes in four years. He has been living in this flat in
Yardley Wood in Birmingham for the last few months. Terrible. I can't
do nothing myself any more. city council provide him with half-
an-hour's care in the morning and evening. But friends say that's not
enough. He needs fully assisted living, which is doctors say is
fully agreed. For a man with that level of disability to be left
wanting and starving in modern-day Britain is an absolute disgrace.
Colin has told us he's only been washed four times in the last three
months and has sores around his legs as a result. He also says he
has just �96 a month to live on, which means he often goes hungry.
It's disgusting. Colin should not be here. He should be an supported
housing where he can get the care that he needs. He cannot handle his
finances. I was upset about it yesterday because I hate seeing him
like this. The flat is also not designed for someone in his
condition. Colin's door is double lot. Because of a stroke he cannot
use his arm and that means he cannot lock his door at night. His
bed is broken in two places. Inside his kitchen he has very few
amenities and has to live off of a microwave and a toaster. Birmingham
City Council say this is a complex case and they are satisfied with
the care provided in very difficult circumstances. They say they are
trying to find him more suitable accommodation that would suit his
needs. Colin, meanwhile, is having to rely on the kindness of people
like Chris to get by. I get fed up. I can't do nothing myself. I can't
walk out beside myself. -- out side by myself. Do you think you need
more help? I do, yeah. Luoise Brierley, BBC Midlands TOday,
Yardley Wood. We're joined now by Patrick
Olzowski from the Stroke Association. Thank you for joining
us. What challenges do stroke patients face when they leave
hospital? They want to get back to the sort of life that we all
actually take for granted, whether it is actually saying a loved one's
name were being able to type in a PIN number at the shopping till or,
as one gentleman said to me, he wanted to get back to the Royal
Marines. There is a huge variety of impacts and recovery is possible
but it needs the right support. I gather that the Stroke
Association is releasing a report in the next few weeks - are the
problems among those who need care? I absolutely. We will be releasing
a report at at the start of May. It will be highlighting what is a one-
off largest surveys carried out -- carried out of survivors and their
carers and what the barriers are to recovery. Survivors are telling us
that they are not getting assessed. Assessments should cover the health
and social care needs of individual and they should result in
meaningful action, but survivors are not -- are telling us they are
not getting that. If that places a huge burden on the survivor,
pushing back the possibility of recovery, and also on carers who
are being forced to sacrifice -- sacrifice their own health and
economic well-being to care for a loved one. What impact are the cuts
in social care having? Stroke survivors are finding it
increasingly hard to get access to show to -- social care. Those who
are getting it are actually getting less and less. I would encourage
people who are interested in this to visit our website.
Thank you. There will be more on this on BBC
Radio West Midlands with Adrian Goldberg tomorrow at nine o'clock.
Still to come: Giving people from Birmingham the chance to tread the
boards in Stratford. Time for sport now, and Ian - big news from Port
Vale as they try to move on from their financial troubles. Yes, we
now know that Lancashire businessman Keith Ryder is the man
in pole position to buy Port Vale out of administration. And he's got
a plan to lift the club from the bottom division of the Football
League to the Championship within five years. Nick Clitheroe reports.
I am delighted to announce this morning that the preferred bidder
is Keith Ryder. After a month of uncertainty, today at last Port
Vale supporters learnt the identity of the man who's been chosen from
five bidders to buy the club out of administration. We are sure he has
got the money. He is asking the right questions and has the right
ideas about how to take the club forward. We believe he would be
very good for Port Vale as well as giving us the best price. We are
may not get the full details of his plans until he meets supporters on
the 18th. We do know that he has a programme
to get this club into the championship within five years and
is planning to sit down with the manager, Micky Adams, and talk
about building the team. Mr Ryder For the fans who continue to raise
money to keep the club going in difficult times, it's a welcome day
of positive news. We want to encourage people to go
out and buy season tickets. Let's try to get them up to 5,000. Mr
Ryder now has two key issues to overcome: First, he must convince
75% of the club's creditors to accept his offer, then he has to
pass the Football League's fit and proper person test. Do both and he
should officially be the owner by the end of June. Nick Clitheroe,
BBC Midlands Today, Stoke-on-Trent. Fans will be dying to know more
about him. Yes, and we will, too. He's from
Lancashire, has interests in financial services and the property
business, and he did try to buy into the club last year but was put
off by the boardroom politics. Chris Hughton admitted Birmingham
City had to ride their luck against Burnley last night. But the Blues
manager thought his team deserved to win. On a rain-soaked, blustery
night in Burnley it was Birmingham who scored first, through Marlon
King, his 16th goal of the season. In the second half, the home side
hit back to make it 1-1. But two minutes later the Blues were back
in front, thanks to Jordon Mutch, and they went on to seal a 3-1 away
victory for the second time in five days when David Murphy scored from
close range. Just six games left, the Blues are fourth and still with
everything to play for. There was a major disappointment for
Bromsgrove's Jess Varnish in her Olympic preparations today. Varnish
and Victoria Pendleton could only qualify in fourth place for the
finals of the team sprint at the world cycling championships in
Australia. They were then beaten in the bronze medal match by China and
saw their world record broken by the Germans in the final. On the
eve of the new cricket season, some disappointing news for
Worcestershire. Spin bowler Saeed Ajmal looks unlikely to return to
New Road this summer because of Pakistan's proposed tour of Sri
Lanka. Nevertheless, Worcestershire are still in confident mood after
narrowly avoiding relegation from division one. Ah, the pre-season
photo call. It's just not cricket without one. As traditional as
April showers and Easter eggs. Every year, a few new faces, a lot
of new shirts, and not a single grass stain in sight. Normally,
they take the pictures out here but this year the snappers are forced
to their snapping indoors. And that is because it is cold
outside. Welcome to English county cricket. Michael, what was the
temperature in Adelaide yesterday. It was mid- twenties.
Michael is the captain of South Australia. A prolific batsman who's
just scored the third double century of his career. Now he's
joined Worcestershire for the next couple of months until his fellow
Aussie Phil Hughes arrives at the end of May. Luckily for the men
from Down Under ,the April weather's not always this bad.
Exactly twelve months ago New Road was full of sun cream... And ice
cream. Cold beer... And bare chests to welcome Yorkshire on the opening
day of the new campaign. Six months later, Worcestershire stayed up on
the last day of season. And the Head Coach said it was the biggest
achievement of his cricket career. I always felt that if they could
just survive then they would be a year older, better experienced.
That will be the acid test now. When Steve rang me up, I saw it as
a challenge. There are some great teams playing in this division.
Inside, in the warmth of the Graeme Hick Pavilion... The lads had
changed out of their whites and into their greens. And outside, the
wind howled, the rain blew, and the coach shivered with anticipation.
think it is going to be a day for three sweaters tomorrow, isn't it.
They will be struggling out there if it is like this. Let us keep our
fingers crossed us up I do not like to be pessimistic about anything,
including the weather. Bring it on. Let's hope it's a bit warmer
tomorrow for Worcestershire away to Nottinghamshire in division one.
Likewise for Gloucestershire away to Essex in division two.
I would say take a jumper tomorrow. It is not that unusual for it so be
-- for it to be so cold at the beginning of the season, is it? I
believe there is ice on some of the pitches. Yes, some of them are
frozen over. I cannot remember ever seeing my hot breath on a day in
April. Now, as the countdown to the
Olympics continues, some of the many associated cultural events
tied to the games are gathering pace. The World Shakespeare
Festival 2012 is one of them - it'll be launched later this month.
The Festival will celebrate the Bard's work in more ways than one,
as Kevin Reide reports. The Winson Green area of Birmingham
may seem a million miles from Shakespeare's Stratford but this is
where the Royal Shakespeare Company is recruiting it's latest talent.
They want an all Black cast for a version of Julius Caesar to be set
in Africa. The inspiration has come from a number of places. One is
Nelson Mandela's known appreciation of the play, and another
comparisons between the Ceasers rule in Rome and that of other
African rulers right up to the present day. Recruiting from one
ethnic group may be contentious but the RSC say it needs to to make the
play authentic and realistic adding that it's acting within the law.
One volunteer who hopes to be selected is George Gordon.. Julius
Caesar feels very fitting, given some of the uprisings that have
been happening in Africa. George's one volunteer who could
soon find himself on stage alongside leading black actors.
Shakespeare is associated with using the English language very
effectively. That is my perception, anyway. So it has relevance where
we are in Great Britain. Winson Green is no rent -- no exception to
that. Nor is Birmingham. This incarnation of Julias Caesar will
form part of the World Shakespeare Celebrations much of which are
about spreading the Bard's word as far and wide as possible, for
example there will be performances in his name as far afield as Brazil
and Baghdad. Obviously this year is the Year of the Olympics, and you
would think that is all about sport, but is it it -- but it is actually
about the arts and theatre as well. And just like the Olympics, the
events do not just belong to Britain. The African version of
Julias Caesar is due on stage in Stratford at the end of May, there
are more details on the RSC's website. Kevin Reide, BBC Midlands
Today, Birmingham. And the star of Homeland, David Harewood returns to
Birmingham to work with a group of teenagers from his old school to
perform a section of scenes from Macbeth as part of the World
Shakespeare Festival, and you can see how they get in a special
programme here on BBC 1 at ten past eleven on Sunday 22nd April.
Well it wasn't just the snow that caused problems overnight, the
gable wall of this house in Stoke on Trent collapsed early this
morning. Investigations are now underway to see if the strong winds
affected the structure. But are we heading for better weather?
We had up to 20 centimetres of snow in the worst affected areas. Along
with the wind, it really was awful. Let us not forget that we had some
decent bouts of rain that were desperately needed at the moment.
There is more to come over the weekend. It should be warmer by the
weekend. This is where we are currently at. The isobars will be
listening up in the process, so no more damaging winds after today.
Let's take a closer look at tonight. We can see that the band of rain is
moving to the south. We will see some showers gradually dwindling,
leaving dry and clear spells. Temperatures could get down below
zero again. We could have some frost and ice by the morning
tomorrow. It could be cloudy start to the day, a bit chilly as well.
It will be brighter and drier by lunchtime. The big difference is
the lighter wind, still coming from the north-east, but considerably
lighter. Temperatures will be a couple of degrees higher, up to
about eight or nine Celsius. The cloud will continue to break up
tomorrow night. Temperatures will plunge down to zero in towns and
cities, perhaps as low as of minus four in rural spots. The cloud is
increasing from the north. It will be fair rain -- fairly bright on
Friday, a little rain entering the North Letter Road. It turns cooler
but warmer as we head into the weekend. A look at tonight's main
headlines: Road disruption and power lines down as snow and
blizzards hit parts of the country. There are queues of traffic across
northern England - as tens of thousands are left without power: