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First portrait of pet guinea pig found

16th century oil painting with guinea pig. Credit: PA Images

Art experts think they have uncovered one of the first ever portraits of a pet guinea pig.

A 16th century oil painting showing the animal being cradled between three children will go on show at a new exhibition later this year.

The portrait, believed to have been painted around 1580 by an unknown artist, shows three young children holding the animal which had recently been introduced into Europe from South America by Spanish merchants.

It will form part of an exhibition, called Elizabeth I And Her People, which opens at the National Portrait Gallery in central London in October.

A gallery spokesman said: "We know that guinea pigs were introduced into Europe by traders and were kept as exotic pets.

"While archaeological finds for domestic guinea pigs in Europe are rare, a partial skeleton of one that dates from around 1575 was discovered at Hill Hall in Essex, an Elizabethan manor house."

The youngest child in the painting is also holding a small bird, possibly a goldfinch, which was often used to symbolise Christianity in works of the period.

The exhibition includes jewellery, costumes and coins from the period as well as paintings.


Ipswich rail station evacuated as man climbs on roof

Man on the roof of Ipswich Station

Rail commuters have been facing severe delays on trains this morning because of a man on the roof of Ipswich station.

Greater Anglia say the station was evacuated this morning so British Transport Police could deal with the incident. The train company is urging people not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

Drug dealer swallowed 139 wraps

25-year-old Thaimloll Conteh swallowed 139 wraps Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

A drug dealer who swallowed more than 130 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine in a bid to hide them from police has been jailed.

Thaimloll Conteh, 25, of Cropley Street, London, was spotted by officers on patrol in Market Street, Ely, on Monday, April 29.

He was acting suspiciously, was in the company of a known drug dealer and initially gave a false name, so the officers searched him and seized several mobile phones and £300 in cash. He could also not explain why he was in Ely.

Their suspicions raised he was arrested and taken in for questioning. He was strip-searched but no drugs were found, however an x-ray revealed he had a number of packages in his stomach.

He was admitted to hospital and 139 packages of drugs were eventually recovered.

He pleaded guilty to possessing heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply. The drugs had a street value of between £1,730 and £2,780.

He was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Peterborough Crown Court yesterday.


Runners from across the Anglia region gearing up for London Marathon

Amy Childs from Essex is one of the celebrity runners Credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Thousands of runners from across our region are heading into the capital for the annual London Marathon. There are nearly 40,000 runners taking part today, including Amy Childs from the ITV reality show The Only Way is Essex.

Many will be travelling from the Anglia region to run the 26.2-mile course. After the events at the Boston Marathon, organisers are hoping runners and spectators will be out in force to show their solidarity.

Rail investment: Anglia Route

Railway investment plans Credit: ITV Anglia

Anglia Route: lines out of Liverpool Street including Great Eastern main line

There are several big developments on this line. The completion of the overhead line upgrade on the Great Eastern main line, track renewal and new signalling is a major component of the 2014 - 2019 plans.

Another priority is finishing the Crossrail service from Shenfield to Liverpool Street.

That development will lead to:

  • More seats and direct services to Thames Valley, central London and Heathrow Airport.
  • New Crossrail station at Liverpool Street will free up platform space, enabling opportunities for more services on the Great Eastern main line.

In addition Network Rail are committed to examining how to improve journey times on the line.

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