11/12/2013 Midlands Today


11/12/2013

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News at Six, so it's goodbye from me, and on BBC One we now

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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: Nursing

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shortage ` hospitals across the region recruiting hundreds of

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overseas staff to fill posts. The dependency levels of patients have

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gone up so much in recent times, and that has really caught us unawares.

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We'll be asking the Royal College of Nursing what this means for patient

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care. Also tonight: How shoplifting is

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pushing up the price of Christmas by ?43 million.

:00:30.:00:34.

The blight of abandoned homes. How it can devastate lives. They are not

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just empty, they are derelict, and a blight communities.

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Aerial grace, unbelievable athleticism. We follow the twists

:00:45.:00:47.

and turns of a sporting world champion from Gloucestershire.

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And a stunning photograph taken by one of our viewers, John from

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Worcestershire, of a storm brewing across the Malvern Hills. Could we

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be facing the same this weekend? Find out later.

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Good evening. Hospitals in the region are having to recruit

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hundreds of nurses from overseas because of a shortage of qualified,

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experienced staff. It comes as the Government imposes new conditions to

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ensure there is always a "safe" number of nurses on wards. There'll

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be up`to 100 overseas recruits in Shropshire, and 300 in the Black

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Country. Most will be paid a typical nursing salary of around ?21,000.

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One senior NHS executive says the foreign influx is likely to continue

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for several years at least. Ben Godfrey has this exclusive report.

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Spain isn't just popular with holiday`makers, you know! Hospital

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bosses are booking flights. There's hot competition for nurses. 75 could

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be heading for Dudley in the New Year ` and some have already arrived

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in Redditch. We actually managed to recruit 16, and the way in which the

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Spanish health care works means that nurses don't always get very long

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assignments in their own Spanish health care system, so they are

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looking for long`term roles. Has the patient being weighed today? Maria

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Tan came from further afield. She left the Philippines ten years ago

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for a nursing role in Wolverhampton. Today, she's managing a ward. Coming

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over to the United Kingdom and working for the NHS is one of the

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best decisions I have made in my life, both personally and

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professionally. Figures we've obtained from many of the region's

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hospitals suggest a new wave of foreign nurses is reaching the

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Midlands. New Cross hospitals recruiting locally but say it's not

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enough ` so they'll recruit 170 nurses from abroad. The dependency

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levels of patients have gone up so much in recent times, and that has

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really caught us unawares in terms of the need for more recruitment,

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and if we were to increase the commission of nurse training now, it

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would take four or five years for that to come through and we cannot

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wait that long. So what does this mean for home`grown talent? How are

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you feeling now? These students at the University of Wolverhampton are

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on three year degrees. The Royal College of Nursing says, across the

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UK, more than 3,000 student training places have been axed since 2009.

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There is lots more people out there, lots more students who want

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to get into the University but get disappointed they do not get picked,

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as there are only so many places. It is a shame that we cannot increase

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the places. We have had assurances from our local trust partners that

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there will be jobs available for all of our students when they complete

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their studies. Nursing care has arguably never been under more

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scrutiny following the Stafford Hospital scandal. Hospitals are to

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be made to publish monthly details of whether they have enough nurses

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on wards. So the new recruits are helping maintain safe staffing

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levels at least in the short term. It's a mixed picture. Some

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hospitals, like the George Eliot and University Hospital Coventry, told

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us they're not looking abroad because the pool of talent here is

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sufficient. It is obviously necessary now because of winter

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pressures, but it wasn't me `` doesn't worry me in the long run.

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Despite the difficult headlines, people are queueing up to be nurses.

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But they are facing competition from around the world.

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And I'm joined now by Paul Vaughn from the Royal College of Nursing.

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Good evening. Does it actually matter whether a nurses trained in

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Seville or Stourbridge ` as long as patients get good care? That is

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exactly what we would say. Right now what we need is the nurses on the

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wards in a community delivering the right care. What we need to reassure

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the public about is that nurses coming from European countries are

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trained to the right level. We have to make sure that when they come

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they are inducted properly into the hospital procedures or the community

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procedures, and that they have a good command of the English

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language. Why is there a shortage of locally trained nurses? We had an

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issue number of years ago where one the deans and myself raised, the

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decommissioned a number of the nursing places. We saw this

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happening across the country, not just in the West Midlands. We keep

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getting into this room and bust approach around planning workforce,

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and what we need to get better at is planning that workforce better.

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How'd you do that? Some of it will be about how we clicked the data

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better. With health and education in England now they are working hard to

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try to get good data, to try and manage that better and move forward.

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As the population gets older, they have more care needed, we need more

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people to be doing that care. With saving 20 billion in the NHS by

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2015, one of the things a lot of organisations that is frozen nursing

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posts. We had big gaps. Isn't part of the problem that it takes three

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years for a nurse to graduate because they go through a university

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programme, and an interesting part of the report that came after the

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problems at Stafford Hospital was for nurses to spend more time on the

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wards. Wouldn't that help, act to the shop floor and less time in the

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classroom? They already spend 50% of their time on the wards in their

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training. I don't think that is so much the issue. We did move to an

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all degree profession in the West Midlands. Earlier than other parts

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of the country. That is absolutely the right move. We have other

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professions trained to degree level, you need people with the right

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competence and skill to be able to deliver the complex care we need

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delivering. You do need people with those skills. That again is

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something that Robert Francis made, one of the recommendations he made

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in his report, change of culture? He did, but let's be clear about what

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happened at Stafford Hospital. One of the big changes is, there were

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not enough nurses. The reviews from all the others coming out now are

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all saying the same thing, which is what we have been saying for a

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number of years. Thank you very much.

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Coming up later in the programme: From blot on the landscape to

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des`res. Turning derelict houses back into homes. They need to have

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people in them. They have to be lived in. The street looks a mess,

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everybody just dumps everything on it.

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Just two shopping weeks to Christmas, and that also means two

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shoplifting weeks. Thefts cost retailers of course, but customers

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pay too ` in higher prices. In the West Midlands that adds up to an

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estimated ?43 million over the festive season. It works out at ?16

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per shopper on an average Christmas shopping basket. On expensive items,

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such as games consoles, the extra cost could be more than ?12. Bob

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Hockenhull has been investigating. He might blend into the shop

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surroundings easily enough. But that means this customer can brazenly

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walk out with a box of lager without paying. And watch closely, as this

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man bends down and swiftly removes items of jewellery, throwing them

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into a bag with no thought of parting with his cash. West Midlands

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Police released the footage today ` with a warning that loan criminals

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and organised gangs are targeting the region's shops in the run`up to

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Christmas. At the moment we are experiencing a lot of gift sets like

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perfume boxes, we suspect it is being stolen to order, and then gets

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traded on. It's a crime we're all paying for. Research suggests

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shoplifting adds ?16 to the average person's Christmas shopping bill as

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stores recoup the cost of theft. But while the big chain stores can

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absorb the cost of shoplifting, for small independent traders it is not

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so easy. I spike in thefts can even put staff's jobs in jeopardy. This

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independent jewellers in Solihull has fallen victim to opportunist

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shoplifters in the past. Margins are tighter than they are for the

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nationwide superstores. So the repercussions are felt more keenly.

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It does make the staff feel nervous. But also just the financial

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implications, we don't have anything to absorb it. We are small company,

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so we take the hit quite badly. If we don't catch the people who are

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stealing it will add to the cost of shopping. At Solihull's Touchwood

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Shopping Centre, they're using more store detectives and multiple

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cameras to help thwart shoplifting. There was a crew operating

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nationally, I believe they came down from Glasgow, they were targeting

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shopping centres all over the country and we managed to catch them

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here. It shows you the level of security we can implement what we

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need to. With an estimated 2 million shoplifting cases in the UK in a

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year, such vigilance is certainly needed.

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A new report from the education watchdog Ofsted puts Wolverhampton

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at the bottom of a league table for primary schools. Just over half the

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city's primaries are rated good or better ` that's the lowest

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percentage in the country. Walsall also fares badly, but in Solihull,

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Sandwell and Birmingham, four out of five primary pupils attend schools

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rated good. Wesley Williams was jailed for a

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minimum of 29 years today for strangling his ex`partner and her

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baby son. The bodies of Yvonne Walsh and seven month old Harrison were

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found at their home in Birmingham in June. Williams, a habitual cannabis

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user, had previously been in a relationship with Rebecca

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Shuttleworth. She was jailed in June for killing her son Keanu Williams.

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Photographs of the Queen and her sister Princess Margaret on stage in

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pantomime at Windsor Castle have been sold for more than ?3,000. They

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were in two scrap books, auctioned in Gloucestershire today. Some of

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the pictures were even signed by the young princesses. The final auction

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price? ?3,200. Derelict or empty homes can blight

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neighbourhoods, driving down property values and becoming targets

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for vandalism. Now one council, Walsall, is trying to tackle the

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problem head on. It wants to compulsorily purchase some of the

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worst, abandoned houses. The reasons why homes end up in such a state can

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be complicated ` and even tragic. Joanne Writtle begins her report at

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one house, left to decay for a decade.

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Tony Cockayne is doing up his childhood home in Walsall. But it's

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taken him years to even face it. These slides hold happy memories.

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That was me when I was a precociously doughboy, in the back

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garden here. `` precocious little boy. His father died 22 years ago.

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But when his mother died a decade ago, Tony found visits here

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agonising. I came back here but I couldn't touch anything, I think it

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was just the emotional ties, I couldn't change anything. But it was

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hard to lose your parents and become an orphan. As a result, the house

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fell into disrepair. But now Tony is renovating it with the help of a

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grant and interest free loan from Walsall Council. No longer a blight

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for his neighbours. Before, it was a bit of an eyesore. It was all

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boarded up with broken glass and teenagers coming around, so it is

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nice to have some work done. Back to what it was. Elsewhere, these are

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among six dilapidated houses the council wants to forcibly buy

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through compulsory purchase powers. They've been empty for around five

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years. The authority will then sell them on. It could be a good

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opportunity for first`time buyers in order to take a property on like

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this and do the map, particularly somebody who is quite handy, or a

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local builder. But it will bring these homes back into use for people

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who need a home. It is a shame, it could be a nice house. The street is

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a mess, everybody just dumps everything on it. There are 710,000

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empty homes nationally. 72,000 of them in the West Midlands. And here

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in Walsall, there are 1000, many of them simply empty, others completely

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derelict like this one. Meanwhile, Tony is hoping to rent his house

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out. It is an opportunity to give somebody a chance of a lovely house.

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I wish I'd have done it years ago. Tony was an only child. He plans to

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rent out the home he once cherished by Christmas.

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This is our top story tonight: Nursing shortage ` hospitals across

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the Midlands recruiting hundreds of overseas staff to fill posts.

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Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly. Also in tonight's

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programme, how this hard working student brings a scientific approach

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to mastering a spectacular sport ` he's now world champion.

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And from little saplings, charity funds grow. The Christmas tree

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planted in a Worcestershire village 35 years ago that's pulling in the

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crowds We've reported on this programme about rural crimes

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including sheep and castle rustling. But police in Warwickshire are

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investigating a case of bee rustling. Thieves made two separate

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attempts to steal bee hives from Compton Verney art Gallery. Kevin

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Reide has more. In the last six weeks there have

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been two attempts to steal Bee hives from the grounds of Compton Verney

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art Gallery and Museum. In the first, thieves got away with one of

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two hives, but they damaged the second when they tripped on a tree

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stump as they tried to flee. They returned four weeks later damaging

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it again. They carried it out through the same route, then

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stumbled trying to lift it over a wire fence. And so when I arrived on

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the scene, there were just broken components of the high lying on the

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ground. What is left on the colony `` of the colony is in this high.

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The bees cluster around the Queen to keep her temperature up, but with

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fewer bees, it is more difficult to do, and that endangers the whole

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colony. Bee thefts are rare but with the population of honey bees in

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decline their value has gone up. A complete hive is worth around three

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hundred pounds, but in this tight knit community it's a mystery as to

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who would buy stolen goods. I can only assume it is people who did not

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really know anything about beekeeping. But new somebody who

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would give them a few pounds for the bees and the equipment. The

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remaining hive is now in a safer place, and Warwickshire Police are

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investigating. There was very little for them to follow up in the end,

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but we have now relocated what is remaining of the hives. We have CCTV

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coverage for them. This colony may struggle to survive this winter but

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Compton Verney hope they can continue to keep bees for years to

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come. Earlier in the programme we were

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looking at the problem of derelict homes. Here's an example of one on a

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grand scale. A Georgian town house built by the Wedgwood family of

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pottery fame is in danger of falling into terminal disrepair. The

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Wedgwood Big House is thought to be the oldest surviving example of a

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pottery manufacturer's home in the country. But water's getting inside

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the listed building, and its owners are blaming the local council.

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Here's our Staffordshire reporter Liz Copper.

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In the heart of Burslem, the Mother Town of the Potteries, stands the

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Wedgwood Big House. Built by the Wedgwood family in 1751, Josiah

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Wedgwood was a regular visitor here. And the company he founded was to

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become famous worldwide. Inside, the house is a Georgian gem, with many

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original features. But water's getting in ` it's already destroyed

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floorboards and there are other structural problems. The rear corner

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has turned and sunk, and there is a massive crack forming at the side of

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it. Unless urgent action is taken, the big house will be lost. When

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historic buildings like this are lost, they are lost forever. And the

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cause of this rot is thought to be the pavement outside. This picture

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from the 1950s shows the contrast with the building today. But on

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closer inspection the two pictures show how the pavement on the left

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hand side of the building has clearly been raised. The owners of

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the building have commissioned several independent reports which

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they have shown to us. Each one concludes the root cause of the

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problem is the high pavement outside. This report, for example,

:18:38.:18:42.

which was completed earlier this year, concludes, until the point ``

:18:43.:18:49.

the pavement is lowered, what will continue to flow into the Bakehouse.

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The insurance claim is an ongoing issue, and it is unable to comment

:18:59.:19:02.

further at this stage. In the meantime, a campaign has begun a

:19:03.:19:06.

group who want to see urgent action. It is upsetting. It could so easily

:19:07.:19:15.

have been prevented. Darwin has walked them floorboards. I despair.

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It's hoped this building, with its distinguished history could become a

:19:26.:19:28.

museum. But until the rot is stopped, its future is uncertain.

:19:29.:19:31.

Kristof Willerton is a hard working 20`year`old biochemistry student. He

:19:32.:19:35.

excels in a sport in which a scientific approach is a real bonus.

:19:36.:19:39.

Any mistake could mean a serious injury ` and the margin of error is

:19:40.:19:42.

split seconds and fractions of an inch. Our reporter Alistair Durden

:19:43.:19:48.

has been talking to Gloucester's world champion in "tumbling" ` an

:19:49.:19:50.

altogether inadequate word to describe what he does.

:19:51.:19:54.

They call it the 100 metres sprint of gymnastics ` but you dont see

:19:55.:19:58.

Usain Bolt doing flips and twists like this. Kristof Willerton has

:19:59.:20:03.

been tumbling since he was ten. He's broken his foot three times and also

:20:04.:20:09.

his arm. He tried other gymnastic disciplines, but nothing to beat the

:20:10.:20:18.

thrill of this. A lot of it is being a bit of a daredevil, I think. If

:20:19.:20:22.

you have got an ability to throw yourself without questioning it,

:20:23.:20:26.

that makes you a good tumbler. You get a lot of adrenaline because you

:20:27.:20:29.

have to throw yourself across the room, so it is a lot of fun. There

:20:30.:20:34.

has never been another Kristof Willerton. He just knows where he is

:20:35.:20:41.

at all times, he knows where the floor is instinctively without being

:20:42.:20:44.

told or tort. Kristof is a full`time student at Oxford University, in the

:20:45.:20:47.

third year of a biochemistry degree. It means spending time in lectures

:20:48.:20:51.

and the lab during the day, then travelling nearly two hours to

:20:52.:20:56.

training five days a week. But the two sides of his life compliment

:20:57.:21:03.

each other well. In gymnastics, there is a tiny margin of error, if

:21:04.:21:08.

you make a small mistake, that changes the result completely. It is

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the same with biochemistry. You have the pressure of doing results well,

:21:13.:21:15.

and if you make a small mistake there, you can ruin weeks of

:21:16.:21:22.

results. I think that is white I like driving off the pressure. ``

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that is why I like driving off the pressure. He's been national

:21:29.:21:31.

champion for the last four years, and has just become the first

:21:32.:21:34.

British man to win the World Title in Bulagria, winning gold by the

:21:35.:21:38.

narrowest of margins. Going into it, I knew I had to do a perfect run,

:21:39.:21:42.

and I was very happy because I thought I had possibly gotten the

:21:43.:21:47.

silver, and just getting the gold was a great relief. Tumbling was an

:21:48.:21:51.

olympic sport back in 1932 but hasn't featured since. It means

:21:52.:21:54.

Kristof wont get to compete at Rio in 2016, but he says he'd love to

:21:55.:21:58.

coach gymnastics when his own career has taken its final twist.

:21:59.:22:10.

Don't try that at home. In 1978, a couple planted a small Christmas

:22:11.:22:13.

tree in their Worcestershire front garden. 35 years later and the tree

:22:14.:22:17.

is now 45 feet tall. Decorating it is quite a job. Hundreds of people

:22:18.:22:21.

travel to see it and help raise thousands of pounds for charity, as

:22:22.:22:24.

Ben Sidwell's been finding out. In the Worcestershire village of

:22:25.:22:26.

Inkberrow, Christmas doesn't officially begin until the lights on

:22:27.:22:34.

a certain tree are switched on. Five, four, three, two, one.

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Somebody said to me it is one of the highlights of Christmas, I always

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look forward to it, which is a lovely thing to say. Standing at a

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towering 45 feet tall, this isn't actually the village's official

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Christmas tree. In fact it's privately owned and sits in the

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garden of Avril and Chris Rowlands' house. People start asking us in

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August whether we're going to put the lights on our tree. And when

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Chris had his heart attack, as I went round the village, people were

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saying to me, how is Chris? He is going to be able to do the tree,

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isn't he? When they first bought the tree it was just four feet tall and

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took six lights. 35 years later, there is 1050 on it. Taking more

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than eight hours to decorate. With the tree's help, Avril and Chris

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have raised thousands of pounds for charity. This year over two hundred

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people gathered in their front garden to see the big switch on. I

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have been wanting to come to the putting it on the lights ever since

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I have known them. The tree is huge, so that is a number of years.

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Finally this year I was free to come along, and Christmas has started. It

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is wonderful. It looks amazing. It is a whole village event, and the

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village is so supportive for something so worthwhile. Having

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become such a Christmas tradition in the village, Avril and Chris know

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they have to keep lighting their tree. I think, if we decided we

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became too old and a crepe it and we couldn't do it, we would have to

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move. And possibly if we sold the house, the other people would have

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two keep lighting it. The tree is free to view, but all donations this

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year will go to Acorns Hospice. And we'd like to hear from you if

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your home or your street is bringing an extra sparkle to Christmas this

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year. Is your house the most festively festooned in the Midlands?

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We'd love to hear from you so do drop us a line. All very festive

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apart from the weather? It is far too mild this week. We

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have got a few changes ahead over the next few days, mainly to do with

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rain and also strengthening winds. Nothing to do with the temperatures.

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Temperatures could rise slightly. The rain will be produced by two

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fronts, coming through for tomorrow and Friday. The second of these

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fronts is going to be more active, low pressure will have more of a

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pool on it, rolling across the North, so Sunday is when we see rain

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and also strengthening winds. Those tightly packed isobars wrapped

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around it, responsible for the wind strengthening. Back to tonight, and

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this evening and tonight, we start off with clear skies, and jeering

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this time we can see is dense patches of fog developing. More

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particularly towards the western fringes on the border with Wales.

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The fog will lift and disperse into low cloud. Lows of around three or

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four Celsius tonight, not too bad. No frost tonight. `` fog is going to

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be less of a problem tonight. A dull start the day, dry initially, but we

:26:17.:26:19.

will start to see developing through the afternoon. This is only going to

:26:20.:26:24.

be liked and patchy to begin with. Temperatures very mild tomorrow, ten

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or 11 Celsius, with a light or moderate south`westerly wind.

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Tomorrow evening and night, as rain becomes heavier, those temperatures

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will drop only by a degree or two, marginally cooler than the day. Lows

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of around eight to 10 Celsius tomorrow night, very balmy and not

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bad at all apart from the rain. The winds will be strengthening slightly

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as we head into Friday. Very mild once again, highs of 11 to 12

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Celsius. Tonight's headlines from the BBC: A

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record fine for Lloyds ` ?28 million for putting staff under too much

:27:01.:27:03.

pressure to sell financial products. Nursing shortage ` hospitals across

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the region recruiting hundreds of overseas staff to fill posts.

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Finally tonight, More than 700 people turned out to help break a

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world record in Birmingham today. They were taking part in an attempt

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on the record for the longest Christmas cracker pulling chain. It

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had stood at 603, but 749 people pulled crackers in Brindley Place

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today. The organisers are now waiting for official confirmation

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that they've broken the Guinness World Record. And that is an awful

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lot of very bad jokes. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be

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back at 10pm with more on the increase in

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