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Investigation after three separate fires in same Bedfordshire village

Part of a thatch roof at The Cross Keys Pub was damaged by fire. Credit: Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service

A police and fire investigation is underway after three separate fires broke out in the same Bedfordshire village.

The first call came through at 1.43am to tackle fires on an allotment in Church End in Totternhoe. Three sheds were on fire.

At 2.39am fire crews were called to a barn fire in Stanbridge Road. On the way to the barn fire, they drove past the Cross Keys pub to find the thatch roof was alight and one of the engines stopped to deal with this incident.

“This was a very busy night for us in the village but fortunately our Firefighters quickly tackled the fires. It was fortunate that the crews on their way to the barn fire spotted the fire in the thatch at the pub. Their swift actions kept the damage to a minimum; this could have easily destroyed the whole roof and possibly the building.”

– Group Commander John Foolkes

Hospice staff "shocked and saddened" to hear of Suffolk woman's death

Sarah and Richard Pitkin

Bosses at a hospice in Suffolk have said they are "shocked and saddened" to learn that one of their staff has been found dead in her Suffolk home.

The bodies of Sarah and Richard Pitkin were found at their property in Stowmarket on February 26th. It's not yet known how the couple died but neighbours reported hearing gunshots.

Richard worked as a carpenter and decorator while Sarah was an assistant shop manager in the St Elizabeth Hospice in the town.

“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Sarah Pitkin.. Sarah was a well-loved member of the team and our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to her family and friends.

Sarah was an energetic character, full of life and joy. She loved the hospice and loved working with the staff and volunteers. She had been with the hospice for four years and made a huge difference during that time. She was imaginative and creative and brought a real sense of fun to the shop.

She will be sadly missed by us all.

– Rachel Backshall, director of income generation and marketing at St Elizabeth Hospice

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Giant crane lifts six huge beams to build a new bridge in Northamptonshire

The photos show the huge scale of the beams which form part of the railway bridge. Credit: Peter Alvey, Alvey & Towers

Six huge beams have been lifted into place to form a bridge which will be part of a major new housing development in Wellingborough.

The beams crossing the railway at Stanton Cross were installed over the the weekend of February 25 and 26 with the idea that it would minimise disruption for residents and railway users.

Credit: Peter Alvey, Alvey & Towers

Each of the six bridge beams is a staggering 41m long and each weigh over 30 tons.

Credit: Peter Alvey, Alvey & Towers

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Investigation after fire destroys Luton house

A police and fire investigation is underway after a blaze destroyed a house in Luton.

Emergency services were called to the property on Thornhill Road at 6.36am on Sunday 26th February.

The ground floor and first floor were damaged by smoke.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue said there were no reports of anyone inside the property at the time.

Northampton Saints land South African international

Cobus Reinach will join the Saints in the summer. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints have signed South African scrum-half Cobus Reinach ahead of next season.

The 27-year-old will move to Franklin's Gardens from Durban-based club, The Sharks, in the summer.

Reinach, who has 10 caps for the Springboks to date, scored a try against England at Twickenham in 2014.

Reinach is the second Southern Hemisphere international to commit his future to the Saints, with Australian Rob Horne also due to join the club in the off-season.

I’m delighted and excited to be joining Northampton.

It is a club with a long tradition and strong values and I’m really looking forward to playing at Franklin’s Gardens and being in their environment.

Saints have some outstanding players in their squad and I knew after speaking with the coaches that it was a club that I wanted to play for.

– Cobus Reinach, Northampton Saints

Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder admitted he was delighted to have secured Reinach's signature and added that the Saints have been monitoring his progress closely for quite a while.

“Cobus is an excellent player and we’re looking forward to having him at Franklin’s Gardens next season,” he said.

“We have been watching him for some time and he has proven time and again what a quality player he is. His set piece skills are excellent and he is a very opportunistic scrum half."

Man in court charged with murder

Bradley Carter died in hospital Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

A man is due to appear in court charged with murdering a man.

Mitchell Bird, 29, of Cox Close, Wisbech will appear at Cambridge Crown Court following an incident in Cox Close on February 14.

The victim, Bradley Carter, 35, from West Walton in Norfolk was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn but died on February 19. Police say both men knew each other.

“Bradley was a kind, loving and helpful son, uncle and father who will be greatly missed by all those who knew him.”

– Family of Bradley Carter
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