16/08/2013 Midlands Today


16/08/2013

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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today with Mary Rhodes and Nick Owen. The

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headlines tonight, dismay from relatives of firefighters killed in

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a warehouse blaze as a coroner decides not to hold full inquests

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into their deaths. We have got to continue fighting for the truth, and

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I will do that until I am satisfied I have done everything I can in his

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memory. Also tonight, we're live at Weston Park as thousands head for

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the V Festival on the Shropshire—Staffordshire border.

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Heavy rain adds to the chaos on the motorways, 14—mile queues on the

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M54. We have been travelling since six

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o'clock, stuck in traffic for three or four hours.

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The street pastors who are helping keep the revellers and homeless

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people of Shrewsbury safe. Using the Shropshire countryside to

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fool German bombers in the Second World War to think it was a city.

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And after a taste of summer today, it will feel distinctly different

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tomorrow. Good evening. The families of the

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four firefighters killed in a warehouse blaze in South

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Warwickshire say they are bitterly disappointed by a coroner's decision

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not to hold full inquests into their deaths. Darren Yates—Badley, Ashley

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Stephens, John Averis and Ian Reid died in the fire in Atherstone on

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Stour in November of 2007. Three senior firefighters were cleared of

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manslaughter by gross negligence following a lengthy trial last year.

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Today a coroner told the families that, while it was only right that

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the men's deaths be fully and fearlessly investigated, the police

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had done their job and full inquests were unnecessary. Sarah Falkland

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reports. Some of the firefighters' relatives

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had kept away, perhaps knowing what was in store. Within minutes they

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had been handed a decision they didn't want to hear. We pinned our

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soaps on an inquest, haven't we? Yes, disappointed. To put it mildly.

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Because we thought having an inquest, everything would come out.

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Coroner Sean McGovern said he'd read 24 files of evidence about the

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events of November second 2007, details of how Darren Yates—Badley,

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Ashley Stephens, John Averis and Ian Reid had gone inside the vegetable

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packing warehouse, which had been targeted by arsonists. He said it

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was plain to him that the families feel bitterly let down by the

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verdicts in the Crown Court and that the whole truth did not come out.

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But he said it wasn't clear to him what further investigation could be

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made that would throw significant new light on the mens' deaths. The

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families are now uniting to try and get to the full truth of what

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happened. That is absolute nonsense, and the decision should have been

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based on the facts. He should not have taken any consideration of the

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Judge's ruling of the trial at Stafford Crown Court. The family say

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they will fight to get to the full truth. They're looking at their

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chances of a judicial review or a public inquiry. We have just got to

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continue fighting for the truth, and I will do that until I am satisfied

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that I have done everything I can in his memory. Warwickshire Fire

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Service said in a statement that they respect the coroner's decision

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today not to hold full inquests. Coming up later in the programme,

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saving the NHS thousands of pounds by keeping people at home and out of

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hospital. An 80—year—old man suffered a

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bloodied nose and a black—eye after a sickening attack by a young woman

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in Coventry city centre. Our reporter Liz Roberts has more

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details, so what actually happened? Well, the video is very shocking and

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shows the man being confronted by a group of young people in Trinity

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Street near Millennium Place. It happened around half past eight last

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Saturday night. The girl appears to punch him in the face and knock him

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to the ground. And then she spits on him. But we've only chosen to show

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this section, as the rest of it is too violent. The victim suffered a

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bloody nose and a black eye. West Midlands Police say it was a

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despicable attack on an elderly man in broad daylight. The attack has

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also been condemned by people who have viewed it on the social

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networking site, who have left comments saying it's disgusting and

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disrespectful. What else do the police say? Detectives in Coventry

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are fast—tracking the investigation and are doing everything they can to

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arrest the man's attacker as soon as possible. They're encouraging the

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woman to make contact with West Midlands Police as they say it is

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only a matter of time before they catch up with her. They're asking

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witnesses to call them on the 101 number or Crimestoppers anonymously.

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Heavy rain and thousands of people heading to Weston Park for the V

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Festival caused 14 miles of traffic queues on the M54 this morning.

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Organisers had to divert traffic away from one of the car parks after

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a flash flood, which added to the problems. From there, Ben Sidwell

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sent this report. There was not much of a festival

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spirit heading to Weston Park this morning. Torrential rain led to long

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delays into the V Festival. How has the Jenny Bean today? Terrible!

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Awful! We have been stuck in traffic for three or four hours. The weather

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has been terrible. We have sensed the guise up to bring the tense. I

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got stuck in my car, just getting into the car park. Traffic was down

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to a walking pace as the weather led to diversions. The South car park

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was flooded, so as a contingency we opened one of the West car parks

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instead, and started filling that first. So a slight delay, but we

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overcame it anyway. But the mood changed by the afternoon when the

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sun came out and the festivalgoers came as well. It seemed everyone was

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here to see one lady. Beyond say. Beyond say!

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The line—up is dominated by women this year.

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Goal power, we have been coming four years, we would not miss it, but

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there is more girls. It is good to have a woman headliner. Backstage,

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while dressing 's Beyonceroom was under wraps, frail preparations were

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being made for the other artists. This dressing room is still being

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done out, plenty of water, cranberry juice, information, including masses

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and hairdressers, very nice. And of course a bit of alcohol. With the

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stage set for 90,000 festivalgoers, the hope is that the worst of the

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weather has already made its appearance.

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No doubt people are there to see Beyonce this weekend, but what is

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the state of the parkland after all that rain? You can see that it is

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seeing all right behind me, it is pretty firm, which is good news for

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one man, the festival organiser, it was a worst—case scenario this

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morning. It certainly was a challenge with heavy rain

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overnight. It did mean we have to change our plans slightly and move

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things around, but we got back up and running with a great team. Now,

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everyone is talking about Beyonce, her only summer festival date in

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Europe, a heck of a coup. Absolutely, we so proud to have

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Beyonce, it is going to be fantastic, I can guarantee a superb

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show. A lot of people are talking about the line—up, an awful lot of

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women have bought tickets, probably 70%. It is quite female oriented at

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this year. It has not been planned that way, it is just the acts that

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we have booked, the things that are popular at this present time. We

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have not planned it, but it is that way at the moment. Your 15th year

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here, it is worth £6 million to the council, it has been a really good

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relationship. Oh, it is fantastic, we are in a beautiful place, we do

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feel this is our home, and we love it here. It is not just ladies who

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are playing here. The stage tomorrow night, it will be Kings of Leon

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headlining, fingers crossed the weather stays dry.

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As we mentioned, there were 14 miles of queueing traffic on the M54 this

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morning, our reporter Liz Copper is at the Highways Agency traffic

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control centre. How's it looking now, Liz? Well, they have been

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keeping a very close watch on things since first thing here. We always

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expect delays around the V Festival, but this year things have

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been particularly severe. We joined by Frank from the Highways Agency,

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and a number of things seem to combine this morning that led to the

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14 miles of delays. Yes, that is right. We put our plans into place

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from four o'clock this morning, and we were already into a ten hour

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deluge of rain, causing an enormous amount of surface water, and that

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was then swiftly followed by a tree, which fell onto the side of the M6,

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and later, at around about nine o'clock, we had quite a serious

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incident at junction two on the motorway 54. What is the picture

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this evening? It is very good, everything has returned to normal,

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and it is what you would expect for a normal Friday evening. Some people

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had to stay in their cars for three hours. That was on the motorway 54.

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The good news is that they are having major improvements this

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evening. And BBC Radio Shropshire and BBC

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Radio Stoke will have regular updates on the travel situation

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around the festival throughout the weekend.

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Police investigating the robbery of a security van at Hopwood Services

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on the M42 yesterday have revealed the van driver was kidnapped and

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bundled into another vehicle. The cash van was driven to Barnt Green

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and unloaded, but officers traced one of the vehicles involved to

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Alvechurch, while another car was later found in Birmingham. The van

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driver was not hurt. Officers are hoping to trace two witnesses.

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Nearly £11,000 has been donated to a children's charity following the

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case of Daniel Pelka. The NSPCC said more than 600 people donated the

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money in memory of the four—year—old who was killed by his mother and

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stepfather. Daniel had been starved and beaten by Magdelena Luczak and

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Marius Krezolek. They were sentenced to a minimum of 30 years

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The BBC has discovered that Warwickshire and West Mercia Police

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are considering a full merger of the two forces. Warwickshire Police says

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it is looking at a range of ideas for the future, including having

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just one chief constable for both, but insists there are no firm plans.

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At the moment, the two forces have formed a strategic alliance to save

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£30m, but they still remain two separate forces. Sian Grzeszczyk,

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BBC Coventry and Warwickshire's political reporter, is here, so

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what's being discussed exactly? They are talking about two ideas, either

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a full merger, which would mean one chief constable, one force, and one

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police and crime commissioner, or something that falls just one step

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short of that and going for one chief for both forces. Now the

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police and crime commissioner for Warwickshire says he'd veto any

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plans to merge before 2016. That is the year for the next police and

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crime commission elections. But this is the first time we've got it on

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the record that these sorts talks are taking place. I think for us and

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the chief constable to be having these discussions, I think it's

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important that the public know that we're having them because I think it

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would be wrong for the public to find out in a year's time that

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discussions were taking place and they weren't aware of it.

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What does the chief constable for Warwickshire have to say? He says

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he's happy with the alliance they have at the moment, but says both

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forces need to look at options for the future and he can see the

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benefits of single leadership, having one chief constable for both

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forces. The Chief Constable for Warwickshire is saved a need to look

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at potential options for the future, and he can see the benefits

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of single leadership. The full merger is something I don't think we

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could achieve before 2016 but single leadership we could. And we are in

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debate now with the PCC about that, and I do think there are some

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advantages to single leadership. There are some disadvantages as

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well, that's why we need to have that wider debate, but it is

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something we need to consider and something that may happen before

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2016 Could there be a merger before 2016?

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Well, the commissioner is promising it wouldn't happen and he'd veto the

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idea if it came up, but technically even if a proposal was brought

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forward today, something like this would take a long time to

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Health managers are monitoring two schemes in Staffordshire which have

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helped save thousands of pounds by keeping patients out of hospital.

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Both could now be developed nationally. But despite their

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success, pressures on local health budgets remain, and new money—saving

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ideas will continue to be needed. Our health correspondent, Michele

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Paduano, reports. After falling and fracturing her hip

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six weeks ago, 92—year—old Olive Spurway was taken to Stafford

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Hospital. She didn't need an operation, so she was moved to a

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specialist bed in a care home and then back home for physiotherapy. I

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had tests, and then I had my x—ray, and I had an operation, and then I

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was at the house in my room, and that was all within four hours. I

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thought that was really good. Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent

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Community Partnership has formed one team out of NHS and council care

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staff to simplify looking after patients like Olive. Both budgets

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have seen big cuts. We can make decisions much more quickly about

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Health and Social Care Act, and we can absorb more of the activity, and

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by that is working in a smarter way. At this doctors' surgery in Gnosall,

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they have been carrying out local clinics for dementia and frail

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elderly. They claim to have saved £1m from an £8m budget. All over—75s

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are screened, and Professor David Jolly runs a regular dementia

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clinic. It is likely to be rolled out locally. Nobody from the

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practice was using mental health services at all! And very few, or

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fewer, compared with other practices, were using the general

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hospital system at all. So we have been surprised, really. Surgeries

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like this are going to be more important as the NHS try to save £30

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billion going forward. The reality is we do not pay for another

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hospital beds and this is seen as the best chance for the NHS to

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survive. And with more people living to a ripe old age, the NHS needs

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fresh ideas. Our top story tonight: Dismay from

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relatives of firefighters killed in a warehouse blaze as a coroner

:16:35.:16:39.

decides not to hold full inquests into their deaths.

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Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly from Rebecca.

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Also in tonight's programme, the Premier League kicks off tomorrow.

:16:44.:16:47.

Will West Brom still be the region's top dogs come next May?

:16:47.:16:50.

And fields of deception, how magicians used the Shropshire

:16:51.:16:53.

countryside to fool German bombers in the Second World War.

:16:53.:17:03.

A—level students have spent the past 24 hours recovering from getting

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their results, some celebrating, others commiserating. For some that

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meant a long night out, and in Shrewbsury a team of street pastors

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were watching over them. They patrol the streets nightly, not

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just helping those the worse for wear, but also looking out for the

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town's homeless people. Our special correspondent Peter Wilson spent the

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night with them. Are you celebrating or

:17:29.:17:31.

commiserating? Out on the streets of Shrewsbury.

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The town was busy as students drank to celebrate or to drown their

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sorrows. But the street pastors were offering help and advice. They were

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a surprise to many but others had been helped before. I was very

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drunk, they guided me to where I should be going. I did not know

:17:49.:17:53.

where I was, and they helped me. The team of five are all committed

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Christians but they say not bible bashers. Hard—nosed security staff

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claim they've made a big impact. The street pastors are just doing a

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great job, they are looking after vulnerable people, easing pressure

:18:06.:18:12.

on the door staff, and taking problems away, making sure they get

:18:12.:18:15.

home. One of the reasons for starting the street—pastor scheme

:18:15.:18:18.

was the number of deaths in the river at night. Before the street

:18:18.:18:22.

pastors began their operations in Shrewsbury, more than 26 people had

:18:22.:18:30.

died in the previous six years, since these patrols began no—one has

:18:30.:18:34.

drowned in the River Severn during the night time. People who are any

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berated and trying to walking on the towpath as a short cut to where they

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live, and there are no barriers, so they are just toppling into the

:18:42.:18:47.

river. But since we have been here, since 2011, there have been no

:18:47.:18:51.

deaths were we patrol. The police may be the professionals but the

:18:51.:18:54.

pastors are trained, too, and they know all the rough sleepers in the

:18:54.:18:58.

town. They get food for Becky, who's just left hospital. We actually met

:18:58.:19:04.

her on the very first night we patrolled, and she is a regular

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rough sleeper in Shrewsbury. We found out that, this year, she is

:19:10.:19:15.

developing health problems now. It is the first time I have ever seen

:19:15.:19:19.

her really upset and tearful. I think she is in a pretty bad place

:19:19.:19:23.

at the moment. Kelly is concerned about her own vulnerability, a woman

:19:23.:19:27.

sleeping rough on the streets. Knowing that they are about,

:19:27.:19:32.

especially on a weekend, we get idiots, drinking people and that, so

:19:32.:19:39.

they are quite handy. The charity is part of a national network. More

:19:39.:19:43.

volunteers are joining, and the pastors appear to be winning hearts

:19:43.:19:45.

and minds on the streets. Midlands swimmers have hit the gold

:19:45.:19:56.

trail at the IPC World Championships in Canada. Worcestershire's Clare

:19:56.:19:59.

Cashmore was part of the successful 100m freestyle relay team.

:19:59.:20:04.

Hereford's Sasha Kindred defended his world 200m individual medley

:20:04.:20:07.

title for a fourth time. And there's been a second gold medal at the

:20:07.:20:11.

championships for Ellie Simmonds. The 18—year—old from Aldridge broke

:20:11.:20:14.

her own world record in winning her 200m individual medley title.

:20:14.:20:20.

The Premier League football season gets under way tomorrow, and

:20:21.:20:23.

thousands of fans, as always, start the season full of hope and

:20:24.:20:26.

expectation. Don't we always? Last night we

:20:26.:20:33.

focused on Stoke City. Tonight it's the turn of West Bromwich Albion and

:20:33.:20:37.

Aston Villa. Nick Clitheroe reports. They're near neighbours and

:20:37.:20:39.

increasingly fierce rivals. Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion

:20:39.:20:42.

couldn't be separated on the pitch last season, but there were seven

:20:42.:20:45.

places and eight points between them in the final table. West Bromwich

:20:45.:20:51.

Albion finished top dogs in the West Midlands at the end of last season,

:20:51.:20:55.

so what are the fans expecting this time around? They were knocking on

:20:55.:20:58.

the door of the Europa League, so a European place is not out of the

:20:58.:21:03.

question. We can get even better this season, is because we have got

:21:03.:21:08.

more players, like more better players. Top five would be

:21:08.:21:15.

possible. Really?!Yes, I am positive, I am Dutch! There's no

:21:15.:21:19.

doubt that the signing of this man has played a large part in the

:21:19.:21:22.

pre—season optimism at the Hawthorns. Nicolas Anelka has won

:21:22.:21:24.

major trophies in four countries, and his shirt is the hottest

:21:24.:21:28.

property in the club shop. The one to come back to England to play. He

:21:28.:21:31.

felt he still had enough left in his body to be producing in the Premier

:21:31.:21:37.

League, and luckily for him I agreed! He is a player that I know

:21:37.:21:41.

well from a short spell together at Chelsea, but over the years you see

:21:41.:21:46.

the quality of the player. Darren Bent scored for Aston Villa against

:21:46.:21:49.

Albion last season, but he won't be able to repeat that in this campaign

:21:49.:21:53.

after joining Fulham on loan today. But it's the striker who stayed,

:21:53.:21:56.

Christian Benteke, who has made the Villa fans believe this won't be

:21:56.:21:59.

another season struggling against relegation. I think we will do

:21:59.:22:04.

better than last year because we kept Christian Benteke, very

:22:04.:22:12.

positive, very optimistic. Hopefully this season will be a lot better

:22:12.:22:17.

than last season. That is football fans, and this club has got a

:22:17.:22:20.

history and tradition of winning that demand is that we win more

:22:20.:22:28.

games than not. Any club that wins a European Cup has always got that.

:22:28.:22:31.

They don't meet on the pitch until the end of November. By then, we'll

:22:31.:22:35.

know whose optimism has managed to outlast the autumn chill.

:22:35.:22:40.

Nothing like it! And you can follow your football team this weekend by

:22:40.:22:43.

tuning into your local station for match coverage and reaction.

:22:43.:22:46.

It's not widely known but a secret operation was carried out in

:22:46.:22:49.

Shropshire during the Second World War to fool German warplanes. Decoy

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fires were lit on Whixall Moss near Whitchurch to give the impression of

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burning streets down below. The strategy was used to divert

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enemy bombers away from urban areas. Now a tourist trail through these so

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called fields of deception has been created, as Bob Hockenhull reports.

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Whixall Moss, two and a half thousand acres of lowland raised bog

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that proved invaluable to the war effort. The army placed burning

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baskets on the ground at night to try to trick German warplanes. Now

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the secrets of the operation have been unveiled as part of a new

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tourist trail. This is a strategic starfish sight. It is a site which

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was going to draw enemy bombs away from urban areas. When we were

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compiling a book about this, the people connected with the site would

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not speak about it, because they said they were sworn to secrecy.

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This is what the fake fires looked like. They were meant to replicate

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streets were incendiary bombs had been dropped by the Germans. The

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burning streets below would then attract waves of bombers. From

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10,000 feet, one of these ablaze would look like a street of houses

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on fire. They proved to be very successful. There were 237 of these

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in Great Britain at the height of the war. And it was something like

:24:13.:24:17.

700 bombing missions bombed the sites rather than the real targets.

:24:17.:24:23.

That probably saved quite a few lives. Jim identified where the

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baskets would have been from this German aerial photograph during his

:24:26.:24:31.

investigations he also found other remnants of the operation. We one

:24:31.:24:38.

mile away at the battery shed, from where the baskets were lit. Once

:24:38.:24:41.

they got the word, all the soldiers would have to do is press a switch

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attached to a wire and the fires would start. People living nearby

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used to cut peat here for a living. Those who survive are glad the

:24:51.:24:54.

landscape is slowly unveiling its war secrets to the public. People

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want to come on trails. You could spend all day year, virtually seeing

:24:59.:25:05.

nobody. Later this year, these replica baskets are to be ignited

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again so the so—called fields of deception can burn once more.

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God, that is something, isn't it? How is the weather looking for the V

:25:17.:25:21.

Festival, the cricket at Edgbaston and anything else outdoors? Rebecca?

:25:21.:25:27.

It is waterproofs at the ready! Temperatures made it into the 20s

:25:27.:25:33.

for some of us, but tomorrow has an autumnal feel. We are going to see

:25:33.:25:37.

those winds picking up, rain to come as well. It will eventually brighten

:25:37.:25:43.

up, but tomorrow is feeling very unseasonable. We have got a little

:25:43.:25:46.

bit of sunshine still to enjoy tonight, and then some clear skies

:25:46.:25:51.

to come overnight, and because of that temperatures will fall away,

:25:51.:25:54.

dropping down to single figures in rural spots. In urban spots, staying

:25:54.:25:59.

more into double figures, but then we start to see the cloud moving

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into the early hours of tomorrow morning. That signals the arrival of

:26:02.:26:07.

a weather front, and that weather front is bringing with it some

:26:07.:26:09.

patchy rain through the day, but most places will see it at some

:26:09.:26:14.

point. On top of that, the winds picking up, and that will make

:26:14.:26:18.

things feel rather an seasonable. Temperatures only really getting up

:26:18.:26:23.

to 18 — 19 Celsius. Feeling quite chilly under that rain. If you are

:26:23.:26:26.

heading to the V Festival, it looks like tomorrow will be a rather wet

:26:26.:26:31.

day at Weston Park. Sunday does look better. Having said that, tomorrow

:26:31.:26:40.

afternoon will see the rain moving off eventually, and through the

:26:40.:26:42.

evening things will start to brighten up a little bit and we will

:26:42.:26:44.

see some clear skies overnight once again, but those showers never

:26:44.:26:47.

really too far away. Milder tomorrow night as well. We start Sunday with

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some short, sharp showers to come, but eventually it will start to

:26:51.:26:55.

brighten up. Temperatures not much higher than we will see on Saturday,

:26:55.:26:59.

but because those winds are a little bit lighter, it will feel a little

:26:59.:27:04.

bit more pleasant. Coupled with the sun, not feeling too bad at all.

:27:04.:27:08.

Through Sunday into Monday, high—pressure starting to move in,

:27:08.:27:11.

so things are starting to turn a little bit more settled as we move

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into the new working week. So we have got a bit of a clip to content

:27:15.:27:20.

with tomorrow, then, a little bit of rain through the day, but eventually

:27:20.:27:23.

it is an improving picture through midweek.

:27:23.:27:27.

A B cap of the top stories: More bloodshed in Egypt, at least 50

:27:27.:27:35.

people have been killed in clashes between protesters and security

:27:35.:27:37.

forces. Dismay from the relatives of

:27:37.:27:41.

firefighters killed in a warehouse blaze as the coroner decides not to

:27:41.:27:44.

hold inquests into their deaths. Mary will be back at ten o'clock,

:27:44.:27:47.

have a good evening

:27:47.:27:47.

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