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  1. National

Met Office issues updated weather warning

The Met Office has issued an updated weather warning, with snow and ice set to make conditions potentially dangerous in a number of regions.

- East of England

- North West England

- Wales

- East Midlands

- Yorkshire & Humber

- West Midlands

- London & South East England

According to the warning, even when the snow has cleared roads may remain dangerous due to ice.

An area of rain, sleet and snow is affecting the area before clearing eastwards overnight. Some uncertainty surrounds how much snow will occur, but several centimetres of snow are likely even at low levels, especially in a swathe through Wales and the Midlands. As precipitation clears, roads could turn very icy.

– Met Office statement

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British Transport Police out in force over Festive period

Officers from British Transport Police (BTP) will be out in force over the Christmas period and into the New Year to provide support and reassurance to passengers and staff across the rail network in West Yorkshire.

British Transport Police out in force over Festive period

“Traditionally we see an increase of people using trains and stations at this time of year.

" It’s a great time for people to enjoy themselves and take part in celebrations and we want everyone to enjoy the holiday season, but we will not tolerate drunken or aggressive behaviour and we encourage a responsible approach to alcohol and travel.

“We will be running Operation Garland, which is a special programme of operations throughout West Yorkshire designed to keep passengers and rail staff safe this festive season by combating anti-social behaviour and ensuring that rail staff are not subjected to any kind of anti-social behaviour or assault.

“We will be stepping up visible patrols in evenings and on last trains. Our officers will be engaging with passengers, advising on how they can keep themselves and all their belongings safe while they travel.

“Where unacceptable behaviour is identified our officers will intervene, taking robust action to protect members of the public and ensure that rail staff are not subjected to any kind of abuse or assault.

“Please enjoy yourself, but it is important that you remember to behave appropriately and stay safe.

"Our main advice is to keep an eye on your Christmas shopping and luggage, pre-plan your journey, make sure you know when your last train leaves, take care on platforms and stairs and look out for friends and colleagues.”

– Supt Eddie Wylie, British Transport Police

The patrols form part of a greater commitment from British Transport Police, in partnership with the rail industry, to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime on the rail network.

Rogue traders warning

Trading Standards officers are warning households in North East Lincolnshire to be wary over the Festive period of cold callers offering to carry work on their homes.

The warning comes after reports of a man calling at a home in the Grimsby area offering to carry out roofing repairs and felting services.

He had no identification or calling card for his business and was reluctant to give the householder any further information other than offering repair work.

People are reminded of the additional protection which came in on 13 June 2014 that gives consumers 14 days cooling off period for contract signed away from business premises, providing the consumer does not sign a waiver to these rights.

“If you’ve not requested a trader to call then always be wary of anyone who arrives uninvited at your home offering to sell you something, they’re usually just out to rip you off.

"This recent complaint goes to show that doorstep scammers are active in our borough and we need to guard against them, no matter how genuine they might appear.

"On this occasion it was roofing work, but door step callers might offer to do anything from tree surgery to block paving and gardening to guttering.

"It’s a scam that rears it’s ugly head time and again, but unfortunately people keep being taken in. ”

– Cllr Hazel Chase, the portfolio holder for Safer and Stronger Communities

“There’s only one way to stop yourself from being ripped off on your doorstep and that’s by saying ‘no’ to cold callers.

"At best they’re an unwanted nuisance, at worst they are ruthless criminals preying on the vulnerable. Either way, our advice remains the same – don’t do business on your doorstep.”

– Neil Clark, Trading Standards Manager at North East Lincolnshire Council

People who are concerned about rogue traders operating in their area should contact trading standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or online atwww.adviceguide.org.uk.

20% rent cut for market's outside traders

Outside traders at one of Leeds’ most historic city markets are to receive a 20% rent cut in 2015.

As part of proposals given the go-ahead this month, all traders with a regular licence to trade at Leeds Kirkgate Open Market will be granted the significant reduction in their base rent by Leeds City Council from January 1 2015 until 31 December 2015.

This follows a move by the council to approve in September 2014, a 20% decrease in rent to indoor tenants in order to compensate for trading conditions during a substantial £12.3m refurbishment programme at the market which is set to begin early next year.

Traders at Leeds Kirkgate open market are to receive a 20% rent cut Credit: ITV Yorkshire

As part of proposals given the go-ahead this month, all traders with a regular licence to trade at Leeds Kirkgate Open Market will be granted the significant reduction in their base rent by Leeds City Council from January 1 2015 until 31 December 2015.

This follows a move by the council to approve in September 2014, a 20% decrease in rent to indoor tenants in order to compensate for trading conditions during a substantial £12.3m refurbishment programme at the market which is set to begin early next year.

"We realise that during our substantial £12.3m refurbishment programme of Leeds Kirkgate Market there may be some disruption to both businesses and customers, which is why we have now taken the decision to offer outside traders a 20% reduction in their base rents.

"This will mean that regular traders at Kirkgate indoor and outdoor markets can now benefit from a cut in their rent from the council, which is a signal of our continued commitment to support businesses at Kirkgate Market during this exciting time of change."

– Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for transport and the economy
  1. National

Councils must encourage more 'free' ATMs says minister

File photo dated 18/03/13 of money being taken out of a cash machine. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Councils should encourage shops to install free cash machines by offering business rate discounts, a Government Minister has said.

Local Government Minister Penny Mordaunt said that small shops often struggle with local rates payable on cash machines, so giving them an incentive to install free machines would help their businesses and consumers facing fees at the same time.

Ms Mordaunt said: "People should not have to pay through the nose to access their cash. Free-to-use cash machines are a vital service that we are asking councils to take seriously."

The suggestion was welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores, which said half of local stores now contained an ATM.

Despite the growth of cashless payment systems many small stores still rely on cash. But machines in shops can often charge fees of several pounds to users no matter how big the withdrawal.

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  1. National

'Protect most vulnerable' during cold snap

Temperatures could drop to -10C in the coming days. Credit: PA

Public Health England urged people to keep an eye out for vulnerable friends and neighbours during the cold weather.

Dr Angie Bone, its head of extreme events, said:

We advise people to keep active in the home, have plenty of warm food and drinks and maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C - particularly the older or very young, people with pre-existing health conditions, or who are not very mobile, as these groups can be particularly vulnerable to the ill-effects of cold.

Also take some time to think about how the bad weather may affect your friends, family and neighbours - it's important we all do what we can to protect those around us.

If you do need to go out, remember to wear lots of thin layers and shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip to prevent any accidental falls.

– Dr Angie Bone
  1. National

Lawyers confident as Thailand murder trial set for July

A lawyer for two Myanmar nationals indicted over the murder of two British tourists on a Thai holiday island said he was confident of persuading scared witnesses to testify and exonerate the accused.

A trial date was today set for July 8 next year by a court on Koh Samui, the neighboring island to Koh Tao, where the bodies of David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found on a beach in September.

The parents of defendant Win Zaw Htun travelled to Thailand to support their son. Credit: Reuters

Police arrested Myanmar workers Zaw Lin and Win Phyo, both 21, in October, saying their DNA samples matched those found on the victims.

A committee of investigators set up by Myanmar's embassy in Bangkok last week said potential witnesses able to prove the suspects were innocent were too scared to appear in court for fear of retribution by Thai police or their former employers.

Thailand's military government pressed police to solve the case quickly. Zaw Lin and Win Phyo, who were migrant workers, initially confessed but later retracted their statements, saying they were given under duress.

GPs in south and east Leeds open extra hours during winter

GPs in the south and east of Leeds are to offer extra opening hours for local people during the winter.

The winter extra hours will run from this month until March 2015 and are in response to recent reports that the demand for GP appointments has risen considerably.

Local practices are working with other GP practices in the area to provide extra opening hours. This means that local people may be able to access an appointment outside of normal working hours but it might be at another local practice.

“Winter is a very difficult time with minor ailments from coughs and cold to more serious illnesses.

"We have decided to meet the need of our local community by offering extra hours when surgeries are normally closed.

"As a GP, I hope that by offering a range of primary care services during these times will offer greater convenience and make sure that a visit to A&E is avoided unless it is for a genuine emergency.”

– Dr Andy Harris, Clinical Chief Officer of NHS Leeds South and East CCG

The extra hours service will be an on the day clinic and will not disrupt the existing out of hours’ service provided when GP surgeries are usually closed as this will continue to operate as normal.

More details about where each session will be held is available onwww.leedssouthandeastccg.nhs.uk/gpextra or patients can contact their surgery for more information

OAP dies in A1 crash

A pensioner has died after a three car collision on the southbound A1 at junction 56 between Barton and Scotch Corner.

The incident occurred at 7.40am this morning. The driver of a Red Ford Focus involved in the incident, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was a local man from Darlington aged 72. The other two occupants of the Focus were uninjured.

The occupants of the other two vehicles, a Silver Peugeot 206 and a Black Nissan Qashqai were also uninjured.

North Yorkshire Police are asking anyone who saw the Red Ford Focus prior to the incident to contact them with any information.

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