The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.
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Hello, and welcome to Midlands Today.
Under severe pressure hospitals across the region struggling
to cope, with patients forced to wait hours in A
Hospitals in Dudley, Stoke-on-Trent and Walsall have been
Two men jailed for growing cannabis
with a potential street value of a million pounds
And after the coldest night of the winter so far,
things are beginning to warm a little as we approach the weekend
but not before another numbing night of sub-zero temperatures.
Pressure is mounting at hospitals across the Midlands as accident
and emergency staff struggle to cope with growing numbers of patients.
Ambulance crews say they're experiencing long delays getting
patients into casualty departments and hospitals in three areas
In Worcester the situation is improving, but problems persist
with stories of patients waiting in corridors for treatment.
From there, our Health Correspondent Michele Paduano reports.
This was done immediately. Ten in mind as emergency Department. This
morning on a high level of you. According to the ambulances are more
than 500 hours of delays as sweet vilification. Doctors orders in you.
Obviously we have more patience in losses and in a few minutes. We
expect this will have an effect over the next few weeks. The situation is
beginning to ease. But earlier this week the corridors were filled with
people. The BBC has learned of the death of the last. A man fled into
the corridor and size station. They terminally ill woman spent 35 hours
in a terminally ill woman spent 35,000, though, and one hanged
themselves on the board. There is nothing to live this directly with
pressures, they that admits they have been busy.
Some people are waiting a long time. We are sorry for that, but it's the
intense pressure that your lender. It's not just us, there are other
half of the fourth the 20 really vision. -- thereafter others across
the country. And Michele joins us now
from outside the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Michele,
what's the position there now? I've just checked the accident and
emergency department. They were for ambulances outside and I'm told
numbers inside are reducing. They haven't got to corridors full as
they had previously. This is still a concern. Two years ago an emergency
doctor was called in due to concerns of the and emergency department. The
Care Quality Commission put them in special measures 18 months ago due
to the inadequacies of the accident and emergency department. Before
Christmas Day was a health Summit of this department. They still haven't
managed to get it right. There is going to be a review across the
whole of Worcestershire of services. There is talk that they do need a
system wide way of dealing with this problem. So why is it we are
experiencing these precious right now is that well, we have an ageing
population which is causing travel. We are not getting more money to
deal with it. Over Christmas you get a perfect storm. You can't get
people treated elsewhere all get people into the system. This year it
has been with an normal. One doctor tweeted that he felt that
you were coming off NHS. A shire horse breeder and a former
landscape gardener have been jailed for their involvement
in a "sophisticated" and "commercial" cannabis factory
in barns at a farm in Staffordshire. The court heard how police
seized plants and packages of the drug worth hundreds
of thousands of pounds. A third man will be
sentenced at a later date. This is police footage
of what was described in court as a sophisticated and well
established commercial cannabis Detectives say it has
the potential to produce Stafford Crown Court heard how
police these plans and packages It was located here at Newchurch
near Burton upon Trent. Police say the cannabis factory
at this remote location had been It's believed plans
were afoot to expand Martin Young, on the right,
paid ?28,000 a year to rent the farm He was jailed for three
years and two months. Ian Locke, wearing a hat, was jailed
for two years and three months. The court heard how the former
landscape gardener from Newport in Shropshire has moved to the farm
shortly before police raided. The court heard that
Raymond Nicholls from Birmingham hasbeen diagnosed with cancer,
and will be sentenced later. All three men admitted cultivating
cannabis and possession The rural location enabled them
to work in a specific way. And to continue their business
without being overlooked by any other buildings,
or any other traffic, really. They have nursery rooms for plans,
and they also had preparation rooms that were specifically built
behind hay bales. The recorder, Michael Ellson,
said that although involved, Young, Locke and Nicholls were not
the overall directing minds behind The court heard that another man
is still wanted by police. A Birmingham Labour MP and former
Cabinet minister says the Education Secretary should
intervene to defend the anonymity of witnesses in the so-called
Trojan Horse Affair. Whistle blowers who gave evidence
to the inquiry into an alleged Islamic plot in schools
were told their names But now the Education Department's
considering releasing their identities to lawyers
representing teachers who're facing Our Political Editor
Patrick Burns is here. So, is the pressure
mounting on the Government? It's certainly mounting
on Justine Greening. The Education Secretary is accused
of "making a complete mess of this" by the Labour MP who represents two
of the five defendants facing It's nearly three years now since up
to 50 whistle blowers gave evidence to the inquiry into an alleged plot
to instil hardline Islamic influences in inner city
Birmingham schools. They were told their identities
would be protected. But now the department's lawyers
have written to them to say their names may after all be
disclosed to the I want the Education Secretary to
get on with this process which is descending into chaos. You've got
teachers accused of very serious offences, they leave Viacom also,
British justice. But we've got at 250 came forward on the proviso they
were guaranteed anonymity. -- at 250 came forward.
Liam Byrne tells me several witnesses are his constituents.
They've contacted him to tell him they fear for their own security
and they feel betrayed by the Government.
So the two big questions: what will this do for the "whistle
blowing culture" which we keep being told is to be encouraged.
And did the head of that inquiry, Peter Clarke, have full authority
to offer them anonymity in the first place?
It's not clear what Peter Clarke offered anonymity about. It was in
relation to the enquiry he was conduct. He says he offered that no
information would be shared. But it's not clear that he was in a
position to offer anonymity disciplinary proceedings taken
disciplinary proceedings taken against people.
The Department of Education say they're not putting
anyone up for interview, but they tell me it's
critical that the tribunals are conducted correctly.
But because these proceedings are in progress it would not be
As you may have heard in this news hour, the renowned campaigner
for the rights of victims of sexual violence, Jill Saward,
She waived her right to anonymity after she was raped
during a burglary at her father's vicarage in Ealing in London
in 1986, she was the first rape victim in the country ever
She'd been living in Staffordshire for many years and died in hospital
It is part of my past now, when I talk about the rape it
The victim of what became known asthe Ealing vicarage rape,
Jill Saward was just 21 when she was attacked by burglars
who broke into her father's vicarage in Ealing in West London.
The case was the focus of a massive media attention,
not least because the perpetrators of the rape received shorter
sentences than a man who was only convicted of burglary.
The judge told the court that her trauma had not been so great.
She and her father, who was also injured,
I didn't want them to destroy anything else.
So forgiveness gave me that liberation, that
Neither at the time, and as far as I've been able
to examine my sensations since, not once have I felt
In 1990 she waived her right to anonymity and co-wrote a book
She became a campaigner for the rights of victims of sexual
She regularly appeared in newspapers and television.
Recently she argued against a campaign to grant
anonymity to people accused of sexual offences.
I think it's important that the moment somebody
is questioned we are made aware of the name of that person.
So that it can encourage other people to come forward.
So many people have been convicted because other
The family announced her death with deep shock and sadness.
They said she dedicated the past 30 years of her life to helping others.
And tonight people have been paying tribute to Jill Saward.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said she was a heroic
and remarkable campaigner for the victims of rape,
and Jeremy Corbyn has said she was a courageous campaigner
for the rights of sexual assault survivors.
Her work led to crucial changes in the law and attitudes.
The Attorney General said it was only after her attack
and campaigning that the law changed to so that victims could challenge
JCB has won one of the biggest single orders in its 71-year history
a $142-million dollar deal to supply the United States Army
The Staffordshire digger maker will produce more than 1,600 rough
terrain forklifts for use around the world including loading
and unloading aircraft and shipping containers.
The family of a man badly injured in an attack in Birmingham two years
A Coventry charity which helps people with benefit difficulties
says it's expecting homelessness to increase as benefit
As many as 800 families in the city are set to loose
The government says these cuts are fair and necessary,
and will help encourage more people back into work.
She's already being sanctioned after being overpaid in benefits,
and with the new cuts will be ?136 pounds per month worse off.
Providing for her three children is becoming increasingly difficult.
I've put a fake smile on my face every day so they think
An estimated 800 families already struggling with those ?100 a week
from their income. Staff believe it will push some of them to the brink.
Families have been made homeless by the cat already. This will continue
to happen. They won't be able to pay for their food or fuel bills. They
But government says the new system is fairer and provides clear
incentives for claimants to find work.
It adds that the total benefits a family can now claim
is the equivalent of a ?25,000 per year salary.
But with few qualifications and children to raise alone,
Helen Portsmouth can see no way out of finding a decent job.
A constant black hole. With no end. No light at the end, should I say.
It's just everybody around me is forward.
The cuts are coming, and are being applied in stages.
In Coventry they begin on January 16th, in Birmingham on January 23rd.
The weather's been a major talking point in the last 24 hours,
bitterly cold, the coldest of the winter so far, I'm hearing.
And it's produced some magnificent pictures.
I was spoilt for choice today so it seemed a shame not to show a few
The sun and frost seem to have brought out the best
From the Manor born, this beautiful frosty morning scene
from Wolverhampton to the babbling brook and woods of Staffordshire
and the swans looking as cool and calm as ever cutting
through the ice at Kenilworth in Warwickshire.
We've got more lovely pictures to come in the forecast later,
but if you'd like to join the hoards of people already signed up
as weather watchers, we'd love your contribution.
All you need to do is got to bbc.co.uk/weatherwatchers
Thanks for joining us on Midlands Today, this is our top
story tonight: Hospitals across the region struggling to cope
with the number of patients, as they're forced to wait
Also in the programme this evening: Hardly ideal
weather for new born lambs, but no fewer than 11 have arrived
And how come heavy metal legend Tony Iommi's written a choral piece
Construction work on the National College for High Speed is gathering
pace, as you'd expect at a place with a name like that!
It's costing more than ?20 million to build and it's claimed to be
the first all new further education college in the UK since
the 1990s.The complex, in Birmingham, will take its first
students in September and our Transport Correspondent,
Peter Plisner has been given exclusive access.
It might look like just another building rising up from the ground,
but the new National College for High Speed Rail promises
to revolutionise training of the railway engineers
It's very much emulating what you would get in the
And this is the new colleges Chief Executive, Claire Mowbray,
she can't wait for the first students to arrive.
We're looking to train people aged 18 and over, we
are looking to engage with people in employment
within the rail sector, but also those people who are
leaving, maybe, college or school and they want to come into the rail
industry and start to get trained to go into employment.
And this is what the new college will look like when it's finished.
In Birmingham they'll specialise in management
and digital technology, while a second new centre
in Doncaster will deal with design and construction skills.
It is the first sector focused college that we've got.
brand-new start from scratch college since 1993.
There will be a cafe and a glass sided workshop.
There will be an atrium there with stairs up to
There'll be 3000 students studying here when it's
And with the first students arriving in September the new college
is certainly going up fast, construction work only started
in May and the man in charge says it's certainly a challenge.
This one is slightly more challenging than
others because it's been a quick start-up.
From conception to getting onto site.
While most students will eventually work on HS2, the new college
will also play a leading role providing civil engineers
A sheep farmer in Staffordshire's celebrating the arrival of 11 lambs,
despite the usual breeding season for ewes being in the spring.
It's thought two escaped rams in the summer are to blame
This little one is the result of a bit of early passion in the
You would normally have to wait until spring to see newborn
lambs, but at this farm in Staffordshire 11 have come a long
Well, we kept the tups away from the ewes.
We didn't want any accidents, they were two
field away, but nevertheless the tups got into the
surprise, at the end of November when there was a lamb in the field.
We thought, the tups would never have caught the news for the
short space of time they were in that field in July.
This lamb that Deborah is holding now is number seven of the 11, born
three days before Christmas Day, and a real cutie.
Lambs are normally timed to be born when the grass is
starting to grow, fortunately mild conditions mean there is some
grazing to be had, so the new offspring are let out
It's a beautiful day, we've got a lovely frosty morning.
And on top of that we've got a lambs running around, really happy.
It's nearly six weeks since the first lamb was born, Deborah
still can't get over the lengths the tups went to to reach the ewes.
They went from all the way over there, through there, through the
And ended up at that gate, then got to
Even though she loves the lambs, Deborah
This year the tups will be put a mile away from the ewes.
And we'll make sure there is no way they could
actually sent these ewes, or indeed, anybody else's ewes.
So clearly, any further misplaced passion won't get
Bob Hockenhull, BBC Midlands Today, Staffordshire.
One of the world's great rock superstars has written a track
Tony Iommi, guitarist with Black Sabbath, said he wanted
to 'give something back' to his home city.
Ben Sidwell's at the Cathedral, where the track was played
in public for the very first time this evening.
Ben, this is quite a different direction for Tony, isn't it?
You could say that. Gone are the guitars and hard-rock, replaced by
something tranquil and ecclesiastical. In a moment I'll be
speaking to the man himself, that phrase I've been finding out about
the track. He's the man who, along
with the rest of Black Sabbath, But Tony Iommi's latest
composition is very different. I've done stuff with instrumental
acoustics, but to do something like this, for Birmingham, to be involved
with the Dean and the choir, this whole thing, I've
really enjoyed it. The track How Good It Is,
has seen the formation of a very While Tony's written the music,
it's the Dean of Birmingham, the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle
who's composed the lyrics. Every cathedral loves to be in place
of gathering where people are To bring together
different sorts of music, different genres, and create
something beautiful and harmonious Especially written for
Birmingham Cathedral, this afternoon its composers got
to hear it in situ for The combination of the choir
and the music that Tony put To be able to listen to it,
especially in the situation as well. Well, you may be able to hear the
music playing in the cathedral. Let's speak to Birmingham's answer
to Lennon and McCartney. This is something you wanted to do for
Thurman, why was it so important is that I'm from Birmingham.
I think it's a great thing to be involved with. Certainly being
involved with Catherine and doing something with the choir.
It was very different for me. It's an unlikely partnership, how did you
get together? We matched mutual friend. We talked
about doing something then, didn't we? And that's what happened.
Let's speak to the Dean of Birmingham, the very Reverend
Katharine. For you this is a significant find photos of you. Tony
and Black Sabbath finished touring next month, you leave them on
Sunday. Yes, that this is a lovely project,
the culmination of so much work. The cathedral brings people together and
sometimes surprising people off altogether to make something
beautiful. We are proud of this project.
Will you will together again? Will you be on the new South album?
Who knows, this was a great project. -- Black Sabbath album. His song is
available so get on the Internet where you can find it.
I should think sales of scrapers and de-icers rocketed today!
But I'll say it till the cows come home,
your pictures today were Fab - u - lous!
From fields to tree lined roads and vistas of distant hills,
everything sparkling in frost and sun but the headline from last
night was the temperature, the coldest spot in the region
was pershore in Worcestershire with lows of -7.
The cold place in England was Benson in Oxfordshire at -8 making it
the coldest night of the winter so far for England but this is how
things progress as we head towards the weekend,
a bit of rain to get through tomorrow but it opens up
the way to much milder conditions and drier ones too as
You can't ask fairer than that, could be a bit cloudy but a small
price to pay for saving on the heating bill.
A widespread frost as temperatures plummet. -12 -4000 fifth still very
cold. Cloud edge in from the west. It will be a frosty start tomorrow
and cold as well. Gradually the cloud invades from the West and
takes over, removing the sunshine. Like patchy rain in the afternoon.
It could be heavier in places. You can see very little of it around.
Milder tomorrow with Pfizer five to six ounces 50 today's as we look
further ahead, that rain clears stewards into Saturday followed by
lots of love the arts'. I'll be back at 10:30
with your late update. We're looking for someone
who can sing, someone who can move. Someone who can keep an audience
on the edge of their seat. Something like this
could change my life. When you're born to perform,
Let It Shine... Magical new drama...
The Worst Witch. Shall we? Absolutely.
..DI Goodman... It's been lovely, our little holiday
romance. ..is back on the case.