11/01/2017 Midlands Today


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The headlines tonight: Saved after months of uncertainty,


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


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


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


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


engineering businesses in the region.


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


assaulted by a patient he was trying to help.


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


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


help people. Police apologise to a Birmingham DJ


after he was pulled over in his Bentley and told


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


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


but mix rain with Arctic air and tonight and tomorrow,


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


in a short while. Having spent Christmas


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


good news for more than seven hundred workers


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


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


September. But today they've been taken


over by the industrial group Liberty House.


Joanne Writtle reports. A bright day for 740 workers in


Coventry who have faced an uncertain future for months.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


This woman was particularly relieved. She and her partner both


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


really worrying. Since we went into administration,


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


positive atmosphere about the factory.


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


that all that success will be realised.


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


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


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


recycling companies, all sorts of things.


The chief executive of the Global Liberty Industries Group has


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


Why, then, did they decide to buy Covpress?


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


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


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


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


chain. A year ago, they saved jobs snapping


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


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


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


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


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


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


track. Back in Coventry, there are now


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


Pressing Solutions. Our Business Correspondent Peter


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


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


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


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


they are making parts through the acquisition of Covpress for Jaguar


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


Liberty House, which is developing itself into a vertically integrated


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


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


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


that makes the steel that makes the parts.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


payment protection fund. Thank you.


An ambulance technician is recovering after being viciously


assaulted by a patient he was trying to help.


Bob Burness was treating an unconscious man who had been


found in a stairwell in West Bromwich,


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


of the rising number of attacks on ambulance staff.


The results of a brutal attack. Ambulance technician Bob Burness


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


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


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


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


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


of disorientation. Bob joined the Ambulance Service in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


And attacks on West Midlands ambulance staff have been


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


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


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


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


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


deterrent. I think overall, the stance on this


is that we want tougher sentencing for people that assault our


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


not to hinder you. Bob has now recovered from the


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


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


Lots of you have been sending your best wishes to Bob


and expressing outrage about the attack over


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


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


Ionut and Mirela Vasile were arrested after stealing high


end clothes from Harvey Nichols in Birmingham in December 2015.


CCTV footage then showed them shoplifting goods


from stores in Manchester, Edinburgh, London,


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


body was found in the Henley Green area of Coventry.


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


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


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


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


The charity, which covers the West Midlands and Staffordshire,


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


The Metropolitan Police in London have apologised to a Birmingham DJ


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


black men in gangster clothes commit crimes.


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


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


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


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


Good evening. This has caused quite a number.


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


fair. How come you had a camera at the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


opinion. You must have been horrified.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


they said, we are aware of the footage circulating.


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


Mohammed Rashid has had to overcome many cultural and religious


Some Muslims believe that dogs are unclean but,


thanks to Mr Rashid and friends at his local mosque,


his guide dog Solo has been welcomed into his community.


Our special correspondent, Peter Wilson has spent the day


Can I touch his poor? You certainly can!


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


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


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


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


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


one. Two two has changed my life in any


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


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


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


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


home and their lives. My wife being from Pakistan,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


local businessman has also helped win over the community inspired


Hill. Back home, we have the dog in our


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


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


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


problem, and we should be fine with dogs.


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


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


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


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


mosque, everyone has been positive about the guide dog.


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


praise. Not having eyesight doesn't mean I


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


were recorded at Leek in Staffordshire, which


is near to where this van was spotted being buffeted


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


the ground and many more incidents reported today including road


closures due obstructions caused by the winds.


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


on that later on. Also in the programme,


the craftsman transforming fallen Business owners in Kidderminster


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


multi-million pound regeneration plans they were promised


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


they've had their worst Christmas in decades -


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


empty units in the town. Joan Cummins has spent


the day talking to traders. Worcester Street in Kidderminster


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


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


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


think things could get worse, but they have.


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


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


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


Nobody comes inside the door, not even this morning.


It was hoped developers would flatten Crown House behind me,


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


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


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


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


commercial decisions for them and their shareholders. We are putting


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


learned in the latter part of this year.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


a battle to survive, rather than thrive.


A new dance group launched in Gloucester last night,


hoping to draw on the popularity of Strictly Come Dancing.


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


with many people trying it for the first time.


Have you ever wondered whether a winter of dancing


on the telly makes more of us have a go?


Well, this is what happened in Gloucester last night,


Well, this is what happened in Gloucester last night,


140 people turned up, and for those beginners


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


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


wrong, but gradually, the room moved as one,


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


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


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


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


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


dancing? We dance to New York, we dance in


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


for charity, and it is the best thing ever.


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


Five weeks ago, Gary Boon had a heart attack.


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


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


it could change many more. From the exotically mobile


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


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


for his sculptures and if you live anywhere near Hednesford


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


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


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


Hednesford Park in South Staffordshire.


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


the fire. Robot Cossey is a man who works


with nature's waste. He gives dead trees


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


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


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


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


in the park to make way for new ones.


But some were pollarded for Robot's work.


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


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


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


The Friends of Hednesford Park and Canncock Chase COuncil have


worked with local schoolchildren to come up with the designs,


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


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


park, what a creative thing it is to do.


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


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


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


Robot's work stretches right across the region from Solihull


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


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


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


Yesterday we took you back to a very cold 1982,


where Shropshire set the record for the lowest


Hundreds of you got in touch with your memories.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


trampoline was blown into the overhead lines. But elsewhere


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


mentioned quantities as such for these areas subject to warnings.


That is Herefordshire, Worcestershire, in Warwickshire,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


snow tomorrow! Water you thinking ?!.


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


Have a great evening. Goodbye.


I think my political beliefs are really quite straightforward.


I believe that our country needs to work for everyone.


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


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