Live updates

  1. Central

Fireworks storage area 'completely destroyed'

The factory's entire the entire storage unit has been destroyed by last night's explosion Credit: Staffordshire Police

The investigation into a fire at a fireworks factory in Stafford is 'challenging' because the entire storage unit has been destroyed by the explosion, according to police.

Firefighters and police officers are spending the day recovering any potential evidence from the area around SP Fireworks on Tilcon Avenue.

Last night, two people were hospitalised when a major fire ripped through the factory premises. One victim is in a stable condition, but the other is more seriously hurt.

Police have said they are hoping to reopen Tilcon Avenue to those businesses who have premises on the road and to drivers who need to move their cars in the coming hours.

Baswich Lane has reopened to traffic, but drivers there are experiencing serious delays because of investigation work being carried out by emergency services.

"We have a great deal of sensitive and challenging work to complete in order to allow us to establish the cause of the explosion and following fire.

"We understand the unit was storing a significant volume of fireworks which appear to have been completely destroyed during the blaze last night.

"This makes the ongoing examination of the scene particularly challenging and we expect to be at the scene for some time. We can confirm a 53-year-old male has been arrested in connection with the incident.

“One of people taken to hospital last night is in a poorly condition, whilst the second is stable after receiving treatment.

– Supt Ian Coxhead, from Staffordshire Police


Home secretary will have 'tough job' to replace Woolf

Fiona Woolf is the second person Home Secretary Theresa May has appointed for the job. Credit: PA

Home Secretary Theresa May will have a "tough job" to replace Fiona Woolf if she steps down as head of the Westminster sex abuse inquiry, the former director of public prosecutions said.

Lord Macdonald said if that happened it would be difficult for May to persuade someone else to take it on.

Woolf is the second person appointed to head the inquiry into the historical allegations.

Baroness Butler-Sloss stepped down from the role in July following concerns about her family links.

Her late brother, Sir Michael Havers, was attorney general in the 1980s when the abuse is said to have taken place.


Woolf is 'unqualified' to lead sex abuse inquiry

Critics claim lawyer Michael Mansfield QC would be more suitable for the job. Credit: PA

Fiona Woolf is "unqualified" to lead an inquiry into alleged sex abuse in Westminster in the 1980s, critics say.

Pete Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said the government should appoint "somebody credible" like 'radical' lawyer Michael Mansfield QC.

Mansfield is said to be the 'abuse victims choice' and has represented the families of Jean Charles de Menzes, shot dead by police in 2005, Mark Duggan, whose death sparked the London riots, and victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

Mr Saunders told BBC 4's Today programme: "If you're going to put together an inquiry into this massive problem, then surely you would appoint a group of specialists who know something about the subject and will have the confidence of the people who are suffering from that particular issue.

"Nobody is having a pop at Fiona Woolf as a person - I'm sure she's a person of high integrity - but she has no qualification whatsoever to lead an inquiry into such a deeply, deeply disturbing issue as child abuse.

"She has said as much, so why should we appoint somebody (like that)?"

Abuse victims want Woolf to quit as inquiry head

Alleged victims of a Westminster sex ring want the new head of the inquiry into the claims to quit.

Lawyers for them will call for Fiona Woolf's resignation at a government meeting later today.

It comes after lawyer and Lord Mayor of London Woolf allegedly played down her connections with former Cabinet minister Lord Brittan and his wife.

Lord Brittan is accused of failing to act on the abuse allegations despite being handed a dossier of evidence when he was in office in the 1980s.

Load more updates Back to top

From our journalists