11/01/2017 Midlands Today


11/01/2017

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The headlines tonight: Saved after months of uncertainty,

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over 700 jobs are secured at an engineering firm in Coventry.

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The team have worked very hard. The workforce are very committed to the

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business, and it's good to say that all that success will be realised.

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The company's been bought up by an industrial group with 17 other

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engineering businesses in the region.

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Also this evening: A paramedic's recovering after being seriously

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assaulted by a patient he was trying to help.

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We go to people without question. If they need us, we go. It's not, you

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deserve it, you don't. We don't deserve to be attacked for trying to

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help people. Police apologise to a Birmingham DJ

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after he was pulled over in his Bentley and told

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it was a fact that black How the mighty are fallen and turned

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into beautiful works of art. And the winds caused havoc today,

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but mix rain with Arctic air and tonight and tomorrow,

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wee could be struggling with snow. Join me for the detail

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in a short while. Having spent Christmas

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and the new year fearing for their jobs, at last some really

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good news for more than seven hundred workers

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at an engineering firm in Coventry. Covpress, which makes body panels

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for Jaguar Land Rover and Renault, had been in administration since

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September. But today they've been taken

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over by the industrial group Liberty House.

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Joanne Writtle reports. A bright day for 740 workers in

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Coventry who have faced an uncertain future for months.

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It is a relief, really, to realise that we have been taken over, and we

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can only go one man that is forward. Covpress, major supplier for the

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likes of jaguar Land Rover, went into administration four months ago,

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despite doubling its turnover to ?100 million in the space of

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three-year 's. Now, industrial group Liberty House has saved it.

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There were lots of smiling faces today. Apps we allowed employees

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today to spend a lot of time on their iPhones to eating their

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friends, because generally, there is a feeling we have been underrated.

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This woman was particularly relieved. She and her partner both

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working and have a three-year-old son. The past six months have been

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really worrying. Since we went into administration,

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everyone is worried about their job security. Today, there is more of a

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positive atmosphere about the factory.

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The workforce is very committed to the business, and it's good to see

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that all that success will be realised.

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To give you an idea of the impact this company has, just about every

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jaguar Land Rover car made in the Midlands has a part on it made here

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at this company. Not only that, they make gas meters, panels for

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recycling companies, all sorts of things.

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The chief executive of the Global Liberty Industries Group has

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travelled to the company's bases in Dubai and Poland this week alone.

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Why, then, did they decide to buy Covpress?

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Acquiring this has given us a real high-quality short window to the UK

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market. It is a key supplier, and I'm reliably told this business is

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part of a core platform for Jaguar Land Rover, meaning we are a

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critical part of their supply chain, but also the UK automotive supply

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chain. A year ago, they saved jobs snapping

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up 17 engineering businesses in the Midlands, among them this one, 920

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Engineering in Leamington spa. You know you have your mortgage and

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your family, you can't plan anything else out in your life will stop so

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you are just hanging on in there hoping someone will buy you out, and

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frankly, Liberty did. I have been here 40 years, and I

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think they will invest money, so hopefully, we are on the right

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track. Back in Coventry, there are now

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plans to expand, welcome news for workers at the newly owned Liberty

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Pressing Solutions. Our Business Correspondent Peter

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Plisner is at Covpress this evening. So, Peter, why was Liberty

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so interested in this business? Well, Nick, this was a good business

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and a good fit for the company. Another Liberty House business

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already makes parts for the car giants Nissan, and now, as you say,

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they are making parts through the acquisition of Covpress for Jaguar

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Land Rover, GM and Renault. It is also a good fit strategically for

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Liberty House, which is developing itself into a vertically integrated

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business where they make the steel and then make parts, and those parts

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are being sold to big companies, and of course, they are also -- they

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also have interest in renewable energy. So they make the electricity

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that makes the steel that makes the parts.

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And how has this company survived, when so many others have fallen?

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Well, it is an interesting one. Covpress went into administration

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with full order books, practically unheard of. They had cash flow

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problems, and I think the reason they were sold as a going concern

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was because they have strong, loyal customers like jaguar Land Rover,

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which has led to the good outcome, with 740 jobs secured. Unusually,

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their pension fund is being transferred to tee two, and that is

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normally unheard-of. Normally, they are rescued by the government's

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payment protection fund. Thank you.

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An ambulance technician is recovering after being viciously

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assaulted by a patient he was trying to help.

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Bob Burness was treating an unconscious man who had been

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found in a stairwell in West Bromwich,

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He agreed to talk to our reporter Nicola Beckford to raise awareness

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of the rising number of attacks on ambulance staff.

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The results of a brutal attack. Ambulance technician Bob Burness

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thought he was on a routine call out, but it ended up with him being

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the one taken to hospital. He just went straight into a

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physical assault and head-butted me straight in the face. I was too

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close to move out of the way, so he made contact with my nose and mouth.

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This caused a significant nosebleed and watering of the eyes, and a bit

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of disorientation. Bob joined the Ambulance Service in

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2008. It is not the first time he has been attacked.

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I have been scratched, beaten, pushed downstairs. The list is quite

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long. Unfortunately, I am not unique. It has happened to most of

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my colleagues at some point. Psychologically, it is by far

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nowhere near the worst. When you get somebody with an infectious disease

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is spitting in your face and you have three or four months of blood

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tests to see if you have got something, that tends to play with

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your mind a bit more. This is where the attack took place

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last Tuesday. It is an area that Bob Burness says is low-risk, which goes

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to show that attacks like there like these, can be hard to predict.

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And attacks on West Midlands ambulance staff have been

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increasing. Between April September 2014, there were 325 verbal and

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physical attacks on staff. Last year, during the same period, there

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were 469 attacks. The man who assaulted Bob Burness was sentenced

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to 12 weeks in prison under ?250 fine a sentence the Ambulance

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Service says is not tough enough. I don't think it is actually a

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deterrent. I think overall, the stance on this

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is that we want tougher sentencing for people that assault our

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emergency service staff, because overall, they are there to help you,

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not to hinder you. Bob has now recovered from the

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attack and is back at work. He says it is an outrage that staff are at

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risk of being assaulted by the very public they are trying to help.

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Lots of you have been sending your best wishes to Bob

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and expressing outrage about the attack over

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on our Facebook page, where there's more on the story.

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A couple who stole clothes valued at more than ?100,000

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Ionut and Mirela Vasile were arrested after stealing high

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end clothes from Harvey Nichols in Birmingham in December 2015.

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CCTV footage then showed them shoplifting goods

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from stores in Manchester, Edinburgh, London,

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A 54-year-old woman's been arrested on suspicion of murder after a man's

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body was found in the Henley Green area of Coventry.

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Paramedics were called in the early hours of the morning to Henley Road,

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following reports that a 50-year-old man had suffered a cardiac arrest.

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The Midlands Air Ambulance is to receive ?1 million of Treasury

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cash from banking fines to help pay for a new helicopter.

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The charity, which covers the West Midlands and Staffordshire,

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says it means they can now place an order for a new

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The Metropolitan Police in London have apologised to a Birmingham DJ

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who was pulled over in his Bentley and told it was a fact that

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black men in gangster clothes commit crimes.

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27-year-old DMO Deejay was stopped by officers near Leicester Square.

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What the officers didn't know was that the whole incident

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was captured on a camera set up in the DJ's car.

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DMO Deejay joins us now from our London studios. Good evening to you.

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Good evening. This has caused quite a number.

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What do you make of it? It has been pretty crazy, to be

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fair. How come you had a camera at the

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ready in the first place? I had that car given to me to do a

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promotional video for my supporters, where I was delivering me mixed CDs

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to their house, quite a lot at night, and the cameras are actually

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connected to the car so I can get the whole scenery of London, so when

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I edit it I can add that into there. Luckily enough, I did not know it

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was rolling, but was rolling when I got stopped, so when I went back to

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edit it, I saw the footage and could just about hear it, so I had to turn

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up the volume. So, what did you think when the

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officer said to you what he said? When he said it to me, it registered

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in my head, but it did not register in my head. I did say to him, you

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can't say that to people. But he was saying, it is just a fact. It is not

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racist, it is just a fact. I said, do you know what, that is just your

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opinion. You must have been horrified.

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It is humiliating, to be fair, it is humiliating.

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And it is not the first time you have been stopped, obviously.

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No, it is not the first time at all. So the Met Police and apologise now.

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Have you accepted their apology, or do you want to take it further?

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I accept their apology, but I would like to create some kind of

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awareness about this. There are other black people who get stopped

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in this situation, it is frustrating at times when you need to be

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somewhere and they are taking time out of your day just to do stuff

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they do not really need to be doing, especially when you have a NPR

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monitors, and if something is up, you can tell already. These are

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traffic officers, there were three people in the traffic car, and only

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one officer who was really enforcing the kind of, it is a black thing.

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The other two were all right, but there are all the facilities for

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them to do their prior checks and find out the car was all right. In

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the end, I was completely clean. They let me go, and after they tried

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to educate me on why I got stopped, which I was quite confused about.

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DMO, we will leave it there, thank you for talking to us.

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As we mentioned earlier, the Met have apologised, and in a statement,

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they said, we are aware of the footage circulating.

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A blind man from Birmingham has won a national award for his efforts

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Mohammed Rashid has had to overcome many cultural and religious

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Some Muslims believe that dogs are unclean but,

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thanks to Mr Rashid and friends at his local mosque,

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his guide dog Solo has been welcomed into his community.

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Our special correspondent, Peter Wilson has spent the day

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Can I touch his poor? You certainly can!

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Mohammed Rashid is well-known to the children of St John's Primary School

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And Will 'S Park Hill. He And His Guide Dog Solo Are Volunteers. For

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Many Of These Birmingham Children, A Guard Used To Be Something Fear, But

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Not Any More. . Petrified. Where you? Why? Because

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I have never met a dog before. I have never stroked a dog or seen

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one. Two two has changed my life in any

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different ways. He has given me back my eyes. -- Solo. He has given me

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back my sense of independence. Mohammed was blind and got his dog

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three years ago, but many Muslims do not trust dogs. Mohammed had to

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convince his own family was the right thing to have Solo in their

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home and their lives. My wife being from Pakistan,

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obviously, she was saying, no, I can't have a dog in the house,

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because it is not the norm. If you have the dog, I am going to have to

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move, or you are going to have to move, one or the other. It is me or

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the Dunhill Olivia. That has all changed, and his wife

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loves Solo, and has even decided to keep her husband too! Mohammed's

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cousin is also blind, and she has faced criticism for relying on a

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guide dog. Rouble see me, the way I'm dressed,

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and then they see the dog. I have had things said to me like, you are

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not a proper Muslim. People say, if you have a dog, don't dress like

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this. Choose one of the other which it will be.

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Mohammed has won awards for his work for Guide Dogs For The Blind. A

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local businessman has also helped win over the community inspired

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Hill. Back home, we have the dog in our

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family. People love dogs, and they love dogs here as well. But if the

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dog is wet, we cannot touch them, because we cannot pray. When the dog

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is Jaidee, you can touch them, you can play with the dog, there is no

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problem, and we should be fine with dogs.

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There are both positive and negative references to dogs in the ground,

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but there is no getting away that many Asian people are very fearful

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of dogs. But Solo have both done more than anybody else in the

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country to overcome those fears. -- Solo and Mohammed. At the local

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mosque, everyone has been positive about the guide dog.

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They have even installed a kennel so that Solo is safe while Mohammed

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praise. Not having eyesight doesn't mean I

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can't still be a devoted Muslim, because with the help of my guide

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dog, to come to the mosque, I can still have the same outcome and

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achievement as people with sight. Solo and Mohammed have both changed

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each other's lives, and they're working to help others too.

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Good to have you with us here and Midlands Today. The top story this

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evening: After months of uncertainty, over 700 jobs are saved

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at an engineering firm in Coventry. Parts of the region are bracing

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themselves for snow in the next 24 hours or so, but today one

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of the big problems has Yes - these were some of our peak

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gusts across the region today and as you can see, the strongest

:16:17.:16:20.

were recorded at Leek in Staffordshire, which

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is near to where this van was spotted being buffeted

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by the winds, pinned to the bank while the wheels lifted off

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the ground and many more incidents reported today including road

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closures due obstructions caused by the winds.

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And soon there'll be snow. I'll have all the details

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on that later on. Also in the programme,

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the craftsman transforming fallen Business owners in Kidderminster

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are demanding to know what's being done to re-ignite

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multi-million pound regeneration plans they were promised

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to keep their High Street alive. Some shop keepers have told us today

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they've had their worst Christmas in decades -

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they're struggling to attract customers when there are so many

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empty units in the town. Joan Cummins has spent

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the day talking to traders. Worcester Street in Kidderminster

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used to be the heart of the town. Now, with vacant shops and to let

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signs visible everywhere, it feels in need of care. In 2015, we spoke

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to this man, who had been business since 1979. Back then, he did not

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think things could get worse, but they have.

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We are down nearly 50-60% down in the last year. We are putting our

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pension money in the shop to pay the bills. I got one customer on Monday,

:17:46.:17:51.

nobody on Tuesday. It is nearly 11 o'clock, 12 o'clock in the morning.

:17:52.:17:56.

Nobody comes inside the door, not even this morning.

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It was hoped developers would flatten Crown House behind me,

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described as one of the ugliest buildings not only in Kidderminster,

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but also in the country. But that has been shelved.

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The property developers are in the private sector, and at the end of

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the day, if the money does not stack up for them, they have to make

:18:18.:18:20.

commercial decisions for them and their shareholders. We are putting

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in ?1 million to open up Worcester Street to traffic. There will be

:18:26.:18:28.

learned in the latter part of this year.

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In 1998, -- 19 88, this area was captured on camera. But nearly 30

:18:38.:18:42.

years on, people are accepting that things have to change.

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It is very sad. I was born in Kidderminster, and I find it awful

:18:47.:18:49.

to look around here. High Street are probably becoming less necessary.

:18:50.:18:54.

They are open for a few months, and then they go downhill.

:18:55.:18:57.

The High Street is changing, and I think people need to be aware of

:18:58.:19:01.

that. People themselves are aware of it. They are happy to use the

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internet, but I think we shops and the retailers need to be cleverer.

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But retailers on the street are being more pragmatic, saying 2017 is

:19:16.:19:19.

a battle to survive, rather than thrive.

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A new dance group launched in Gloucester last night,

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hoping to draw on the popularity of Strictly Come Dancing.

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Gloster Swing Dance attracted around 140 people to its opening night,

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with many people trying it for the first time.

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Have you ever wondered whether a winter of dancing

:19:30.:19:36.

on the telly makes more of us have a go?

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Well, this is what happened in Gloucester last night,

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Well, this is what happened in Gloucester last night,

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140 people turned up, and for those beginners

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The one thing you need to remember about swing dance, you can go wrong

:19:57.:20:07.

for the whole hour! See you later. And I'm sure many did go

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wrong, but gradually, the room moved as one,

:20:11.:20:12.

probably ahead of time. You can be fat, then, old, young,

:20:13.:20:25.

black, white, enabled or disabled. You are welcome swing dancing.

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I just want to do it properly. Never having done anything like this

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before, it is good to feel like you are doing something new.

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Just so friendly, getting together and dancing. Who doesn't like

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dancing? We dance to New York, we dance in

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Spain, we danced and loads and loads of places. Did lots of collaborating

:20:42.:20:45.

for charity, and it is the best thing ever.

:20:46.:20:47.

Anyway, back to the professionals, and a special moment.

:20:48.:20:49.

Five weeks ago, Gary Boon had a heart attack.

:20:50.:20:51.

If I wasn't fit, slim, a nonsmoker, a nondrinker, and if I didn't do

:20:52.:21:05.

this, I may not be here now. This has saved my life. And it looks like

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it could change many more. From the exotically mobile

:21:08.:21:10.

to something that's stubbornly static, dead trees, and a man who's

:21:11.:21:12.

been making a living out Robot Cossey is well know in region

:21:13.:21:15.

for his sculptures and if you live anywhere near Hednesford

:21:16.:21:22.

in South Staffordshire, So what is it that makes him turn

:21:23.:21:28.

felled trees into works of art? Who better to find out

:21:29.:21:33.

than our Arts Reporter Satnam Rana? Chipping away at his sculpture in

:21:34.:21:45.

Hednesford Park in South Staffordshire.

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I just love creating things out of something that would normally go on

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the fire. Robot Cossey is a man who works

:21:50.:21:49.

with nature's waste. He gives dead trees

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a new lease of life. I think when I am on the chisels, I

:21:53.:21:58.

am thinking about, obviously, I am focusing on the area that I am

:21:59.:22:01.

carving, but I am also thinking about what I'm going to do next.

:22:02.:22:06.

At the end of last year, 16 over-mature trees were felled

:22:07.:22:10.

in the park to make way for new ones.

:22:11.:22:13.

But some were pollarded for Robot's work.

:22:14.:22:16.

These sculptures are all part of a Heritage Lottery Fund Will Toggle

:22:17.:22:22.

Funded Project To Enhance Enjoyment For Passers-by. And If I'm Right,

:22:23.:22:27.

there is so muddy behind me right now taking apart a graph of them. .

:22:28.:22:29.

The Friends of Hednesford Park and Canncock Chase COuncil have

:22:30.:22:31.

worked with local schoolchildren to come up with the designs,

:22:32.:22:34.

I wish I was as talented as him to be able to bring them back in this

:22:35.:22:43.

way. I have noticed them a the past few times I have gone through the

:22:44.:22:46.

park, what a creative thing it is to do.

:22:47.:22:49.

It is nice to see when you walk around the park. You follow the

:22:50.:22:52.

statues around the park. If he does some on the other side, which he

:22:53.:22:55.

probably will do, it is a nice journey around the park.

:22:56.:22:56.

Robot's work stretches right across the region from Solihull

:22:57.:22:58.

It is therapeutic. That is a word for it. Especially when you are

:22:59.:23:08.

working in a park like this, it is really nice.

:23:09.:23:10.

From stumps to sculture, he's the tree man who

:23:11.:23:12.

Yesterday we took you back to a very cold 1982,

:23:13.:23:19.

where Shropshire set the record for the lowest

:23:20.:23:25.

Hundreds of you got in touch with your memories.

:23:26.:23:32.

Karen Fryer told us it was a week before she got married,

:23:33.:23:35.

her husband-to-be David got stuck in Wales, but he made it in time,

:23:36.:23:38.

she says the day was "perfect, clear blue skies and pure white snow."

:23:39.:23:41.

Hazel Hampton remembers "heating soup and water for tea on the log

:23:42.:23:44.

"burner as the oil for the central heating had frozen in the pipes".

:23:45.:23:50.

But we're in for a testing day or two, aren't we, Shefali?

:23:51.:24:03.

Yes, gusts of 50 miles an hour in some parts today. And mortar come.

:24:04.:24:09.

This was the scene at other stone railway station today, or a

:24:10.:24:13.

trampoline was blown into the overhead lines. But elsewhere

:24:14.:24:20.

throughout the region, more subtle. Beautiful, dreamy sunsets after day

:24:21.:24:24.

here in Worcestershire. That get onto the meaty stuff, the rain and

:24:25.:24:28.

snow heading our way for tomorrow. This is what is happening in the

:24:29.:24:32.

next 24-48 hours. Winds will become lighter through tonight, then

:24:33.:24:35.

tomorrow, my other, with this area of rain that across the southern

:24:36.:24:39.

half of the country, which will bump into colder air sweeping down from

:24:40.:24:44.

the North. At that meeting point, that snow will be created. It all

:24:45.:24:48.

clears away, with high dominating by the weekend. A relatively benign

:24:49.:24:53.

picture for this evening and overnight. A lot of dry weather

:24:54.:24:59.

about, cloudy skies, a few clouds dripping in through the Cheshire

:25:00.:25:02.

cat, with some having a wintry element, but nothing much to speak

:25:03.:25:05.

of. Temperatures will be above freezing tonight. In the south of

:25:06.:25:10.

the region, milder air starts to feed him. Into the morning and

:25:11.:25:16.

overnight, we start to see the rain cutting across the southern half of

:25:17.:25:19.

the region and the two central parts as well. Some will be light, a lot

:25:20.:25:23.

will be heavy, and it will meet up with the colder air. We haven't

:25:24.:25:27.

mentioned quantities as such for these areas subject to warnings.

:25:28.:25:32.

That is Herefordshire, Worcestershire, in Warwickshire,

:25:33.:25:35.

where there is a bit of a white out. The rain will last for several hours

:25:36.:25:39.

and could be heavy in places. Temperatures only rising to 4-5.

:25:40.:25:44.

Into tomorrow night and evening, the snow will persist in River Wear, and

:25:45.:25:49.

we have showers moving into the Cheshire gap which could turn wintry

:25:50.:25:53.

as well, so a warning for Shropshire as well. Perhaps 2-3 centimetres of

:25:54.:25:58.

snow at low levels, ten centimetres in high places, but that is the

:25:59.:26:01.

absolute maximum and it is localised. Ice will be a problem as

:26:02.:26:03.

we head into Friday morning. Thank you. I am filming in all that

:26:04.:26:10.

snow tomorrow! Water you thinking ?!.

:26:11.:26:11.

I'll be back at 10.30 with the late bulletin.

:26:12.:26:14.

Have a great evening. Goodbye.

:26:15.:26:34.

I think my political beliefs are really quite straightforward.

:26:35.:26:38.

I believe that our country needs to work for everyone.

:26:39.:26:41.

Not just for the rich, not just for the privileged,

:26:42.:26:43.

not just for those who know the right people or who've got

:26:44.:26:47.