03/12/2013 Midlands Today


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BBC weather website. That is it all from the BBC's News


Hello, welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight.


As thousands of cannabis plants are grown in suburban homes across the


West Midlands, could this be the latest weapon in the fight against


drugs? Scratch and sniff cards. Each property that is used as a cannabis


farm is not housing a family or other people who are in housing


need. We'll be asking an expert about the increasing problem of


cannabis farms across the region. Also tonight, a criminal


investigation begins into the death of a 90`year`old patient at Stafford


Hospital five years ago. One of the best of his generation `


the funeral takes place of a Staffordshire soldier killed by a


suicide bomber in Afghanistan. He was a smashing guy, a professional


soldier. A brilliant dad and a fantastic husband.


The new wave of bands known as B`Town, adding a new chapter to


Birmingham's rich musical history. And while some are calling it an


Arctic blast, others might say it was just a brief windy spell with a


dip in temperatures. Either way, it's coming. All the details for you


later. Good evening. A surge in the number


of cannabis farms on inner`city estates has prompted the council to


give scratch and sniff cards to raise awareness among residents. It


is hoped they will help police drive drugs off our streets. Birmingham


city council say they evicted 20 residents for cultivating cannabis


in their homes. West Midlands Police say they have destroyed more than


400 cannabis farms at this year alone and with each plant estimated


to be worth ?450 each, it is a big business that can ruin communities.


In a suburban street in Birmingham, this is what is going on behind


sealed windows. Cannabis farms. The criminals tapped into the main


delicacy supplier, putting the safety of the house and neighbours


at risk. This cannabis farm is being destroyed. It is on a lovely


residential street in Birmingham. Whilst many people think that


cannabis is harmless, these farms are being run by organised crime


gangs and the question is, how would you feel living next door to one?


This man is still worried about drug dealers in his community after a


cannabis farm was raided in his street. There are decent people


living here. We don't want this problem. I wanted quiet life. I


don't want to be living with 90 or a hundred people a day wandering


around the block. Birmingham City Council say they have a zero


tolerance approach to cannabis farms. They have already arrested


people this year. It's not just people having a few plants on the


balcony. It is taking over entire properties and bringing undesirable


people into the road at all hours of the day. Cannabis scented scratch


and sniff cards are now being issued to help the public identify the


drugs in communities. But can a scented card be an essential part of


a good citizen's toolkit? I wouldn't be able to tell if it was cannabis


or not? No. Just a funny, grassy smell. It would register. I don't


know what cannabis smells like! Police cannabis disposal experts say


the cards are drawing attention to a problem. It is representative of the


smell. There are lots of different strains of cannabis but this


educates people. Anyone who thinks there may be a cannabis farm in


their neighbourhood can contact Crimestoppers.


With us as Marcio Dixon who helps people in the community with


problems. Good evening. What you think the scratch and sniff cards? I


agree that the police need to be doing as much as they can to raise


the profile that they are doing something about is you. And also


involving communities and make them more aware. Do using these will


help? Potentially. There will be some people who won't mind


contacting the police to let them know information and other people


will stay away from that kind of involvement. How big is the problem


with the cannabis farms in the immunity? We have seen a lot of


people coming through who were using `` you are using cannabis who were


not using it before. That may or may not be a direct result of having


more cannabis farms around. But with the economic downturn that we have,


people look at different ways of being able to earn. We talk about


cannabis farms, can you explain what they are? It is a way of describing


a place that people have set up. It could be just somebody's living room


or bedroom. It could be the entire flat. That has been converted. What


are the problems for young people taking cannabis? We have seen with


young people that they are taking cannabis from the age of 12 or 13.


That young? Yes. People are talking about their drug issues and why they


were using from an early age so we are able to see that some people are


suffering from mental health problems. The jury is still out,


were they predisposed or has the cannabis sparked that? It is


difficult to say but some of the impact that we have seen is


financially, mental health and that fascination `` and the observation


that people are more withdrawn. Coming up later in the programme,


why a Warwickshire town's trying to become the first in the region to be


designated 'dementia`friendly'. For the second time, a criminal


investigation is underway into the death of a patient at Stafford


Hospital. It follows a major review by Staffordshire Police and the


Health and Safety Executive into death at the hospital between 2005


in 2009. The latest investigation will focus on the death of a 90 year


madwoman in 2008. Liz Kopper joins us from Stafford Hospital. What do


we know about this latest case? This is the case of 90`year`old IV barn


`` IV barn. She came here after she suffered a fall in her home in


Stafford. Over the next four days, she had a further three falls at the


hospital, commentating in her death. Details of her case are being passed


from the police to the Health and Safety Executive who will be taking


the X `` examination further. This follows the case of Gillian Astbury


where there was an HSE prosecution. In her case, the trust pleaded


guilty. We are expecting a sentence in the New Year. What further


details have the police given? They have given us details of the


progress of the investigation. You get a sense of the scale and scope


of that investigation. 209 cases are being looked at. A specially trained


team of officers is looking at the evidence. All the families have


their own designated police officer to keep them in touch. So what next,


lays? The police have another 173 cases to look at and they say it is


complicated by the nature of the investigation. In some of those


cases, the police have yet to trace relatives of the patient in the


hospital. This investigation involves not only the police, also


the CPS, the Care Quality Commission, the nursing admin `` the


Nursing and Midwifery Council. So it shows how all`encompassing the


investigation is. The funeral is taking place of a


soldier from Staffordshire who was described as one of the best of his


generation. Warrant Officer Ian Fisher of the 3rd Battalion, was


blown up in how manned. `` was blown up in how manned.


A straight talking soldier, one of the best many of us had ever worked


with. At Lichfield Cathedral, serving soldiers and old soldiers


pay their respects. It has left an entire regiment numb. When he comes


`` I still keep thinking he will come back on the next flight. He had


been a master of Warrior tanks. He had relished the strategy of


manoeuvring them to keep his troops say. He was 42 years old. He leaves


behind a widow and two young sons. Ian Fisher was the 446 member of the


armed forces to be killed in Afghanistan since 1991. The kernel


of the regiment said that he had lost count of the number of funerals


like this he had attended. `` the Army colonel. As we face a


determined and very capable foe, we also need to match and over match


him in everything we do. I am very confident that we do `` what we do


as an Army is supported by the people whom we serve. Warrant


Officer Ian Fisher ask for the music from the film Gladiator to be played


at his funeral. A soldier to the end.


A hundred and forty jobs are at risk after the Birmingham`based


stationery firm Osbournes went into administration. Staff at its head


office and 20 branches were told today. The company was founded as a


printers in the city centre in 1832. All of the stores are being kept


open in the run up to Christmas ` and it's hoped a buyer can be found.


It has been a difficult time for the high Street which has come and it is


in making losses over the last two years. The decision was made by the


directors to place the company into administration. That would give it


the best chance of finding a positive solution. The Chief


Constable of the West Midlands has announced he's ending the practice


of forcing police officers to retire once they've completed 30 years


service. It follows a consultation about the use of the A19 pension


regulation which has resulted in 559 officers leaving since it was


brought in in March 2011. As well as now being able to keep experienced


staff the force also plans to start recruiting next year.


Anyone caught driving under the influence of drink or drugs over the


festive period is to be named online by West Midlands Police. They're


also offering 200 pounds to anyone who reports a driver who's


subsequently convicted. The names of people charged will be published on


the police website and on twitter. Protesters from the Midlands


fighting for the removal of shared space road layouts, where cars,


buses and pedestrians have equal priority, have taken their campaign


to Westminster. The group, calling itself Sea of Change, want traffic


lights put back on various road schemes in Coventry, Warwick and


Leek town centres. They say they don't feel safe but official figures


show the crossings are safer than what they replaced.


This is the film that the campaign group Sea of Change took to


Westminster. It shows a blind people struggling to deal with so`called


shared spaces in Warwick and commentary. Coventry resident Jim


Smallman is featured, he has long campaigned against them. I hope the


government will listen to our problems. They have taken our lights


away. But them back so that we can use our city like we used to. The


campaign has been organised by Sarah Gayton who became involved when a


similar scheme was introduced in another town. Blind schema `` blind


people are being excluded from the city centre. They are staying at


home. Today, their film was screened to a selected audience including


MPs, and people from the Dutch embassy from where the idea of


shared spaces originated. But it is insisted that traffic lights for


strivers to slow down. Statistics show there has been a fall in


accidents at junctions like these. The speed of cars has also fallen


from around 24 mph to 60 mph. In the five years before this was implement


it, there were 16 accidents. Since then, it there have been none. It is


safer than it ever was. The statistics may be stark, but Guide


Dogs for the Blind want things to be done. The council have listen to


some of our suggestions, but they have ignored others. You end up in


an area like this that blind and partially sighted people cannot


access. The council is under pressure to add traffic lights but


they insist that that would put more people at risk.


Our top story tonight, as the number of cannabis factories surge ``


surges across our region, residents are being given scratch and sniff


cards they can detect the drug. Your weekend weather forecast comes


later. Also, a new sound wafting across


Birmingham, the new guitar bands known as B`Town. And with the


weather getting colder, we find out if the gritters are ready and who


decides where and when to send them out.


If you have a story that we should be covering, please get in touch.


You can e`mail us or reach us on Facebook.


A Warwickshire town is aiming to be the first dimension friendly


community. There are millions of people with dementia in the UK with


numbers set to rise to 1.7 million in the UK `` I2018. An estimated 21


million people in England have a close friend or family member with


dementia. The Alzheimer's Society believes more should be done to


reduce the stigma, a bit `` amid concerns people with the disease and


feel isolated. In the 1960s, Ted Hemming was a male


supermodel. His face was seen on billboards around the world. Today,


the 75`year`old struggles to recall much of his exuberant youth. Ted has


Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. He grew up in


Ulster, and he is here with his wife ready to convince people that


dementia can affect anyone. I would come home and found him wandering


around. In the end `` in the past, it was not talked about. It was


like, mental illness, you mustn't say anything. Now it is out in the


open. From shops to public transport, the Alzheimer's Society


is challenging people to create a dimension friendly community. There


are criteria, including a willingness to breakdown stigma,


increasing awareness of the condition and also local health


professionals should ensure access to early diagnosis. The Alcesterr


campaign opened here two years ago. Families affected me tear to share


stories. This woman's mother died a few years ago with the disease. We


do singing and dancing, she would have had a go at it. Just because


you have dementia, you don't forget what you used to do. Ted Hemming has


been used to fronting campaigns but this one is closest to his heart.


We are joined by David Ash, Midlands operations manager for the L Simon


Society. What is the picture for the West Midlands, do we have a figure


for the numbers? The picture around diagnosis rates is varied. 64% of


people get a diagnosis but only 32% in other parts get a diagnosis.


Herefordshire is the worst for diagnosis in the UK. What do you


make of the idea of a dimension friendly community? It is a really


lovely initiative. The idea being that dimension friendly communities


allow people to engage in the community, very often with people ``


people with a diagnosis withdrawing to a family unit. A lot of their


friends do not want to talk to them because it is awkward or difficult.


A dimension friendly community mean that more people will be aware of


dementia and organisations within the community will also be aware.


They will be able to engage in their community and feel more supported.


Perhaps this could be done in Herefordshire, why is it so bad in


that county? It is difficult to say. Sometimes it is around resources.


Sometimes there is no not the organisation. Some councils have put


money into memory clinics. A great example of a dimension friendly


community is the Courtyard Theatre in Herefordshire which has done


loads of work to raise awareness of dementia. But we also need loads of


good as Asians to sign up as dementia friends.


There is a new type of music in the air to add to Birmingham's musical


heritage. Bands like Duran Duran have sold millions of records but a


more recent scene has emerged in B`Town, based around guitar bands.


The glory days returning the city? In rehearsals for their biggest


headline tour so far. Peace are a big band. This scene has been around


for a lot longer, people are just starting to notice. The National


music and media have labelled the current music scene B`Town. Peace's


album has made the top 20. I guess we were lucky, we were always making


the first impression a bit. But it is not just Peace glove enjoyed


chart success. Swim Deep have also seen their album go top 20. But not


everybody in Birmingham wants to be associated with the B`Town band. It


started to great with people in Birmingham. There was a backlash


with people saying they didn't want to be called a B`Town band. But it


had people talking about Birmingham. They were not


necessarily have talked about the city before. `` they would not


necessarily. Despite the hype, the two biggest musical successes to


come out of Birmingham have got nothing to do with B`Town. The


re`emergence of black sabbath saw their new album topped the charts


across the world. And soul singer Laura Mvula's debut album was a top


ten Hill `` top ten hit. She was also a big winner of a MOBO award.


Despite getting the publicity, Peace are keen to lose the B`Town label


and forge their own identity. No one is ashamed to say that they started


in Birmingham, . It hasn't been a hindrance. B`Town may be a fad, but


with Peace doing their tool up to `` in front of 3000 fans in Birmingham,


the biggest band to come out of the scene could have a much longer


appeal. The weather forecast in a moment. It


is due to get colder. The gritters will be on stand`by, but who decides


where to send them, and when? Last winter, Staffordshire's


highways team were coping with freezing temperatures and snow fall


between December and April. The team is ready and waiting in case it


should happen again. But it is not as simple as watching the forecast.


There is a science as to how much grit goes down. This tells us what


the weather is going to be like for the next week. We can see that it is


going to be cold overnight for the next five or seven days. So we need


to get ready for action and we will probably get `` be going out


gritting. The data includes the ground temperature and weather snow


is likely or not. Unlike regional forecasts, it can forecast exact


conditions on different roads. This is one of several weather stations


around Staffordshire. It records weather conditions around it which


is sent to the depot which knows where to great. Tonnes of great have


already been stockpiled with an extra 10,000 tonnes in reserve. That


should keep us moving and there is a science about how it works. It is


mixed with Brian and molasses to make sure it sticks to the road.


What we are trying to do is get the right amount of this, sold, or


great, onto the road, mixed to the moisture on the road, so it stops it


freezing. It does not stop there. High`tech gritting lorries are


helping those that go out to keep us moving. It can control the width of


the spread, the angle of the spread and how much we apply. And with the


cold weather only just starting, there is a busy few months in wait


for our teens. Probably not cold enough for


gritting yet, but who knows? The gritters will need to be out


later in the week, because it is turning colder. All the hype


surrounding the Arctic blast is probably not worth the bother. It is


only with us for a brief period of time and it is will `` it will be


mainly affecting the Northern part of the country, not the Midlands.


This is how I would sum up the next bit of the week, it will be windy on


Thursday and colder by Friday. It is this area to the north`east with the


tightly packed isobars and the cold from sinking southwards during


Thursday. Behind that is the colder air. We can see what is going on in


Technicolor and in pictures from this air mass child. Milder air


coming across on Thursday but it is on the cusp of his colder air which


will be rushing along with these north`westerly winds behind it. That


is what is bringing the cold to riches on Friday. Tonight, a lot of


cold air with a cold front. That is bringing light, patchy rain. But we


are looking at the odd heavy burst in that. It is moving quickly. As it


clears, temperatures fall. There is just the slim chance of a bit of ice


on untreated services because of the damp and falling to bridges. This


rain will be clearing southwards tomorrow morning. Then a largely dry


day. Just the odd shower. In a lot of sunshine developing from the


North. Ten bridges will rise to about 79 `` seven or nine Celsius.


Tomorrow night, the skies were clear so we are looking a fairly


widespread frost. It images below freezing in the countryside. ``


temperatures below freezing. The headlines. Britain's


schoolchildren for further behind in the global classroom. And a surge in


the number of cannabis farms across the West Midlands. A criminal


investigation into the death of a 90`year`old woman at Stafford


Hospital. I will be


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