17/10/2013 Midlands Today


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dual fuel customers will go up by more than 9%. That is all


Hello and welcome to the programme. The headlines: Police raid homes


across Birmingham to track down an international drug scam, bringing


heroin into the UK. They've been using human careers, who have been


bringing their heroin in. Normally around four to 12 kilos each time.


It follows the discovery of 95 kilos of heroin destined for the UK, with


a street value of this `` of ?5 million. 700 badgers are killed in


Gloucestershire, less than half the government target.


The time frame is now likely to be extended. Wolverhampton council


tries to save nearly ?100 million over the next five years.


We are going to pay more for less which is what keeps happening. These


are tough times. It's just not good. Under threat, a memorial to soldiers


who died in the First World War. Now 10,000 people have signed a


petition to save it. And we have the weather.


Today raised hopes. Is the rest of the week going to


dash them as all eyes turn to the weekend. The forecast for you later.


Good evening. Five people have been arrested in early morning raids in


the West Midlands, on suspicion of trafficking large amounts of heroin


into the UK. Police believe they're responsible for importing the drug


from Pakistan, through Europe via countries such as Spain. Officers


have already intercepted more than 50 kilos of heroin destined for the


British market which the dealers had tried to smuggle in via specially


adapted suitcases, books and clothing. Today's raids were the


first carried out in the Midlands by the newly formed National Crime


Agency. Police moved quickly to capture


suspected key players in an international smuggling gang. A man


and a woman were arrested at this house in Stourbridge by officers


from the newly formed National Crime Agency. Further arrests were made in


the Bordesley Green and Alum Rock areas of Birmingham ` and in


Bradford in West Yorkshire. We feel they are a significant gang. The


drugs we seized as part of this operation with colleagues in Europe


has been about 95 kilos. In the UK, we've seized 50 kilos and to put


that into context, that has a street value of around ?5 million. It is a


significant amount. Couriers are believed to have been used to


conceal the drugs in books and next to clothes on flights to Europe from


Pakistan. The National Crime Agency says it hopes today's operation will


be the first of many investigations in the West Midlands that will have


an improved joined up approach to fighting crime. Those arrests are


part of an... Officers from Spanish police are here observing. Police


officers from Holland and Germany have also been involved. The Spanish


police observing said they hoped today's raid would seriously disrupt


drug trafficking in their country too. One of the main priorities for


the police is the cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, in


order to fight organised crime groups who operate without frontiers


or borders. Half the estimated 5,000 organised crime gangs operating in


the UK are involved in drug smuggling ` tackling them and their


global network is seen as a priority for this new crime fighting unit.


Our Special correspondent Peter Wilson joins us in the studio now.


So is Birmingham a major destination for heroin from Pakistan, Peter?


I am not here talking about today's raids, or those that were arrested,


but historically, there is a city in Pakistan called... Back in the 60s,


lots of people came from there because they were building a dam and


60% of the Pakistani people living in Birmingham come from that city.


It's known as little Birmingham. It is also right on the route for


heroin coming in from Afghanistan. There is also another community,


which lives on the border of Afghanistan. Lots of people from


Birmingham are from those areas as well. The vast majority are


law`abiding but a small minority are linked to the heroin trade. We are


hearing a lot about organised crime at the moment.


What exactly does that mean? It means big business. At one time, it


was estimated that drugs trade in this country alone per year was with


something like ?40 billion. If you think about Land Rover doubt


you are, they make ?1.6 billion a year. Drugs is ?40 billion. The sums


are truly astronomical. If you years ago, I went and sat in


the home of a man. I had been told he was one of the


Birmingham drug lords. He told me he was a taxi driver. I had also been


told he had at one time ?1 million in cash hidden under his


floorboards. We went for a walk through a certain part of Birmingham


in the streets and people were treating him almost like that Marlon


Brando character out of the Godfather. People were bowing and


scraping because he was one of the most influential people in the


city. But no one had heard of him. Coming up later in the programme:


Why young dads often feel isolated: a call to help fathers as young as


14. The company responsible for the


pilot badger cull in Gloucestershire has applied for an eight week


extension to its licence. New figures were released today which


showed that, in the six weeks since the shooting started, only 708


badgers have been killed ` less than half the target. Our eural affairs


correspondent David Gregory`Kumar is inside the cull zone for us now. So,


has this all turned out to be a bit of an embarrassing failure, David?


It's hugely embarassing for the Government and those running the


Gloucestershire cull. It's estimated there were 2,350 badgers in the


Gloucestershire cull zone. And in a programme of controlled shooting for


the past six weeks, around 30% of the population have been killed.


Well short of the 70% target. Now as you say the company running the cull


wants to carry on for anther eight weeks.


Things have gone so badly with the Gloucestershire badger cull the


shooting could now carry on right up until Christmas. It is obvious that


six weeks is not long enough. Somerset was granted a further three


weeks. The local company have applied to Natural England for a


further eight weeks and that is under discussion with them. I am


very keen this is run by local people. It is down to the local


company to work that out with Natural England. The Somerset cull


may have faced problems but they look like achieving the cull target.


So why has Gloucestershire failed so spectacularly? They will be a number


of reasons why the numbers are lower than we in the culling companies


have hoped. Some of them will be to do with what is happening this year,


the two rain, the type of farming, what the badgers are doing and where


they are eating and so on. We will consider it all in the round.


Protesters are clearly a part of that. So protesters have made a big


difference in Gloucestershire. They certainly made a difference. It has


meant we've had to pull back our operatives to go to other areas. The


government insists this is just a pilot but the highly well`equipped


protesters in Gloucestershire have cause real problems for the cull.


Let's talk to some of those protesters. Nick and Jean are from


Gloucestershire. What is your reaction to this extension to the


cull, potentially of eight weeks? If it wasn't so tragic, the whole thing


would be laughable. They've had six weeks to do this. They've only


killed the third of the badgers. How do they think over another


eight`week period, and how then can call that an extension, I don't


know, how do they think they will achieve success in bad weather? It


has been a disaster from start to finish. Nick, people like you have


had an impact. There are all sorts of protesters out here every night.


Feet on the ground have made a big difference in Gloucestershire. We


act purely within the law. We've had over 500 people as part of our


patrol. We have not deliberately set out to stop the shooters that are


looking for wounded badgers. If we are in a field near the shooters,


they have to go somewhere else. If we've made a difference in that way,


so be it. Do you think you've stopped shooting? We know we have


because I've been out in the field and we've seen the shooters. The


police have been called and they've been told to stop shooting. It has


made an impact. People know that we are there. We've got hundreds of


people coming from all over the country. They are amazing people,


from all age groups, from different occupational groups. Totally


incredible, out there all weathers, from seven until seven. They are


mind`boggling. If more people want to join us, we would love to have


them in the wounded badger patrol. This extension has been applied for


and there will be a decision as soon as tomorrow.


He has been released on bail to be electronically tagged before


sentencing on November the 28th. Leaders in Wolverhampton say it is


unlikely that any residents in the city will be left unaffected by the


council 's efforts to strip out almost ?100 million from its budget


over the next five years. It is now looking at 165 proposals to reduce


some services as well as putting council tax bills at the first time


in four years. Lifeguards at the Central Baths in


Wolverhampton, road sweepers who keep the city streets clean and


youth workers helping youngsters find their feet. Just three of the


groups of people facing redundancy as the City Council tries to make


?98 million worth of cuts by 2019. We've been forced into this position


because of the reduction in government grants that we have


suffered, something like 40% between 2010 and the end of 2015/16. There's


been a swimming pool on Bath Avenue since 1847. The current facility is


in desperate need of a refurbishment the council can't afford. This could


be one of the biggest casualties of the cuts. The council was


withdrawing ?316,000 worth of annual subsidy and if another operator


cannot be found, it says it will have to close. Youth services in the


city will also lose ?1.1 million. These young people are on a course


that combines maths and english basics with learning about the music


industry. It's privately funded, but at least three of the students are


there because of council run projects. The duty is being used all


the time so there is definitely a need for youth provision, more youth


provision within Wolverhampton. To know there are going to be cuts in


the city is quite sad because we're not going to be able to do some of


the good work. Council tax bills are also expected to go up for the first


time in four years. But one of the city's MPs says growth in the


private sector should offset some of the job losses. In the West Midlands


between 1997 and 2010, we were the only part of the country which saw a


decrease in the number of private sector jobs. We are going to have to


rebalance the economy and there are real positives which points to a


positive future. The council says the financial crisis isn't their


mess, but it's up to them to clear it up and everyone in the city will


feel the impact. Teenage dads desperately want to be


good parents, but often feel isolated, according to a report from


the charity 4`Children. Now a Black Country group's calling for more


help for them from the government in a region with one of the highest


teenage pregnancy rates in England and some fathers as young as 14.


Louise was just 15 when she became pregnant. 16`year`old Luke stood by


her. Anyway, I feel like I've lost my youth but in another way, I've


gained something from fatherhood. It is just amazing. The couple who live


in Sandwell, admit it's been a struggle. But they're still up at


five every morning, ready to leave the house at seven so Ethan can go


to nursery and they can both go on to college. I want to be


successful. I want my son to see that he can do what he wants to do


when he is old enough, and go for it just like I have. You are doing


really well. We pride view. Simon Jakeman became a father at 18. He


too has been helped by the Sandwell charity Krunch which helps young


fathers get into education, training or to find work. They helped me get


my maths and English qualifications. That has led to me getting this job.


I can provide for my family. What do you think you would have done


without this? I would be unemployed, probably on the book ``


Dole. I would be getting into trouble. We do parenting courses,


cooking classes, basic life skills, how to use a washing machine. The


charity has helped around a hundred young dads in the last four years in


the Sandwell area. Teenage pregnancy rates here and across the West


Midlands are some of the highest in England. Ethan is now six months


old. His parents say they're determined to provide him with


positive role models and they're working hard to get their lives back


on track. This is our top story tonight: Five


people are arrested in raids across the West Midlands as police target


an international drug smuggling gang.


Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly from Shefali. Also in


tonight's programme: Keep on running ` a dilapidated athletics track


transformed as part of our Olympic legacy.


And why the dodo isn't quite as dead as we thought. Well, not in


Herefordshire anyway! A public meeting's just got underway


in Warwickshire to discuss controversial plans to extract gas


from deep underneath the countryside around Marston. Cluff Natural


Resources has applied for a licence to use a technique known as


Underground Coal Gassification. Holes are drilled into coal seams


deep below the surface and then set alight. That releases gases which


can then be used to produce power. The Coal Authority is still


considering the application which the energy firm says would create up


to 400 new jobs. Our reporter Giles Latcham is in Leamington Spa where


the meeting is taking place for us now. So who's arranged this tonight?


It has been organised by a small group, newly formed to contest this


application to drill in an area south of here. About 60 people have


turned out so far, many fear it will spoil the countryside. Sue is one of


the founders of this group. This application is a speculative one to


see if the product is viable. It could be five years away. If it


happens, you jumping the gun? I don't think so because once in while


has been drilled, it is therefore perpetuity. Very many wells leaks


and we don't want to see a polluting well which could spawn into hundreds


of thousands. We need to know now what this could turn into. Important


to distinguish this is not fracking. It uses similar technology but


rather than using water and chemicals, the coal in the ground is


set on fire. This is therefore quite risky business because who knows


what is down there, who knows what you can release. It's a very


experimental technology which almost every test has been shut down for


pollution incidents. Gas prices have gone up again today. There is a rich


seam of coal here. We can't ignore that, can we? They are not linked.


This is an expensive technology. It takes a lot of energy to get gas


from coal so deep in the ground. When it comes out, you cannot plug


it in to the gas that we use. This would be used for diesel, jet fuel,


it's completely fictitious to say this is helpful in that way. Many


people are already very concerned about this.


Almost 10,000 people have signed a petition to save a memorial to


soldiers who died in the First World War. It's inside the former


magistrates court in Stoke`on`Trent ` which is now for sale after it was


closed as part of government saving plans. Fenton Town Hall, until


recently a Magistrates' court. Inside a unique record of soldiers


who gave their lives during the First World War. Made from Minton


tiles, Fenton's history is built into the very fabric of the walls


here. But now the building's for sale and facing an uncertain future.


It is just so incredibly important that these men, most of them very


young, are not forgotten and desecrated, because that is what


would happen if the building was demolished. The memorial cannot be


removed without being demolished. Jane Jones and Callan Chevin both


have great grandfathers who fought in the North Staffs Regiment. The


thought of a possibility it could be destroyed is disgusting. It is so


dishonourable. As a young Pip `` person in Stoke, I feel it is my


duty to carry on the memory of these fallen heroes. The war memorial


outside a building makes reference to the names recorded inside. The


mystery of Justice has said any sale of the building will involve a


condition that the tile memorial will be preserved. It says the


government has a duty to taxpayers to provide best funny for money when


the property is sold. The campaigners have collected a


petition with almost 10,000 signatures, they'll be delivering it


to Downing Street at the weekend. They're also got poppy seeds which


they're planning to plant on all roads into the town. If we can plant


poppies around the town, what the residents are saying is we haven't


forgotten about you. We are remembering you. Ultimatately the


campaigners want the chance to buy this building themselves. They


hoping it can be saved, and in doing so, they can honour the memory of


soldiers who sacrificed their lives. A Birmingham athletics club which


faced merger or even closure has been saved, thanks to the Olympic


legacy. Sparkhill Harriers was formed more than a century ago, but


its home track had fallen into disrepair and was no longer fit for


use. Today, though, that track re`opened after a face`lift costing


more than ?300,000. This is the Olympic legacy they


promised, young people inspired by the London Games being coached by


top British athletes. But just as important is the Olympic legacy


under their feet. A brand new track costing 325 thousand pounds that


will be home to Sparkhill Harriers. It is really good. It was better


than the last track because the other track had massive holes in


it. It is nice to run on it and I don't trip up sometimes. I can feel


it underneath my feet, it's a lot more bouncy. It's really good. I've


never felt a track like this before. It's really soft for your spikes to


go on. What a legacy. The good condition of this particular track


will carry on for years and years. It is so good to see so many young


people enthusiastic about running. It will be well used. It was


desperately needed. A year ago I filmed the shocking state into which


the Fox Hollies track had fallen. Rotting equipment and an


embarrassing running surface. A club founded in 1902 and with an Olympic


silver medallist in their Hall of Fame faced an uncertain future. We


were having great difficulty in seeing how we could keep the club


going because we thought we might even have to lose the junior


section. The work has gone in with various organisations to produce


this new track is of importance to us. Already, to `` together with the


Olympic effect, we are seeing a new influx of people coming. But funding


from the city council, Sport England and Ninestiles school has


transformed it. And who knows one day one of these young runners could


swap a Sparkhill vest for a British Olympic vest.


Now, what's the most famous of all extinct species? Surely it has to be


the dodo, as in dead as. Dodos lived on the island of Mauritius and are


thought to have grown to a large size because they had no natural


predators. But then man arrived in the 16th century and astonishingly,


within just a few decades, it had been wiped out. Now the bird forms


the centrepiece of a new exhibition in Herefordshire, carrying a strong


environmental message. Nature left unspoilt can look like


this. The stunning secenery of the Black Mountains on the Herefordshire


Welsh Border. But meddle with nature and you get the story of the extinct


dodo. It's a story brought to life in this exhibtion at Monnow Valley


Arts Cntre in Walterstone. Why bring this exhibition to Herefordshire?


There is an important reason because this is a beautiful is it ``


beautiful, unspoiled area. We are trying to get the message across to


preserve the area and not to do as we did centuries ago with the dodo


in Mauritius. And you've actually got the bones of the bird to bring


the story to life as well. We have indeed. This is the prime exhibit


here. These are actual dodo bones, the last remains of a beautiful bird


that would still be alive today if it wasn't for us. The bones belong


to this man. Ralfe Whistler inherited them from his late father.


His Suusex home is like a permanent museum to thr woerld's largest


collection of all things dodo. It is fun! It brings a smile to most


people 's faces. If you are a collector, you like collecting


almost anything. I do collect and it is almost now Ralfe's fascination


for the The peculiar bird is being shared in our region. Built in. The


name of this extinct bird comes from its rather fat behind so when the


Dutch founded, they named it fat bottom. Over time, it became known


as a dodo. Alas poor dodo may be dead as can be but the flighless


bird sends us alla warning to look after our natural surroundings


before tis too late. Let's catch up with the weather.


Slightly better today, Shefali. What's the forecast?


We had some sunshine today and very few showers. Yesterday, we were


expecting some heavy ones but there have not been any reports of any.


There has even been a positive development on the rain for


tomorrow. There is still heavy rain to come but it looks as though the


alignment of it was a little further west. We should miss the worst of


it. Also, we have, piling in behind it, if you heavy showers. Is there


anything over the weekend, there are showers will be heavier than the


rain tomorrow. We have got blustery showers on Sunday. It is also going


to stay quite mild. It will be fairly breezy. We got some sunshine


in between those showers as well. Because of today's sunshine, we


start the night off with clear skies and because of that, we could see Mr


developing early on, even fog for the east of the region where we hold


onto the clear skies for longest. There will be time for that to


develop into fog. Later in the night, we will see the cloud


thickening up from the South West, head of this rain for tomorrow. The


coldest spot would be the south`west. The morning tomorrow,


we've still got that fog to contend with. As the cloud pushes further


eastwards, that will lift them stand for Clinton low cloud. It is a dull


day tomorrow. Perhaps some heavy bursts in the rest of the region


tomorrow but the temperatures will be lower tomorrow. If at all, it's


tomorrow night that we will see the rain pepping up a little bit. A damp


wet night tomorrow night. For the weekend, we are looking at some


showers and some sunshine. Tonight's headlines from the BBC.


British Gas is the latest energy supplier to put up its prices ` up


to eight million households face higher bills. And police raid homes


across Birmingham, as they track an international drugs gang, bringing


heroin into the UK. That was the Midlands Today. David


Gregory`Kumar will be back at ten o'clock with latest update on the


day's news.


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