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Cybercrime warning as 'Black Friday' gets underway

Cybercrime experts are warning Christmas online shoppers to be extra vigilant and look out for the signs of scams as 'Black Friday' gets underway.

It marks the first day of what is expected to be one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year on the high street and online as retailers slash their prices in the run up to Christmas.

Online shopping fraud increased by 31% during last year's Christmas period Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Online shopping fraud increased by 31% during last year's Christmas period, according to figures based on reported crime figures from police forces across the UK.

Mobile phones, games consoles, footwear, clothing and other technical devices are said to be among the most risk items for Christmas shoppers to buy online.

Christmas shoppers in Birmingham Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

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Woman and boy in critical condition after suspicious fire

A woman and a boy, believed to be mother and son, are in a critical condition after a fire at an apartment in Kidderminster.

A map of the location of the fire in Kidderminster Credit: ITV News Central

Police are treating the fire in The Horsefair as suspicious.

The two seriously injured have both been taken to hospital - the woman to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, and the boy to Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Two others were treated for smoke inhalation, and were taken to Worcester Hospital, where their condition is not described as serious.

Plans are being put in place to house people who will not be able to return to nearby properties tonight.

The road at the scene remains closed to traffic.

We are currently treating this fire as suspicious and would appeal for anyone with information that may help with our investigation to contact us.

The investigation will be led by a detective inspector and will involve investigators from the fire and rescue service and our scenes of crime officers.

We would like to thank everyone in the surrounding area for their support and patience while we manage and investigate this incident.

– uperintendent Kevin Purcell, West Mercia Police

High street retailers prepare for 'Black Friday'

Shoppers across the Midlands are expected to purchase thousands of bargains today as high street retailers slash their prices in the run up to Christmas.

Christmas shoppers in Birmingham Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Today is dubbed 'Black Friday' which marks the first day of what is expected to be one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

Visa Europe predicts that £360,000 will be spent every minute.

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Southwell Flood Forum welcome government's offer to pay for repairs

An action group formed in Southwell in Nottinghamshire to help residents hit by flash floods has welcomed the government's offer of money to pay for repairs and say an injustice has been put right.

150 homes in the town were flooded when a month's rain fell in an hour in July 2013.

Southwell Flood Forum members Katy Todd, Liz Walker and Rob Jordan Credit: ITV News Central

Southwell Flood Forum was aggrieved when the government announced financial help for victims hit by flooding in 2014, such as those in Somerset.

But today, following pressure from the Forum and Nottinghamshire MPs Robert Jenrick and Mark Spencer, the offer was extended to communities affected last year as well.

Potwell Dyke in Southwell which burst its banks during the flood Credit: ITV News Central

Residents will be able to apply for grants of up to £5,000 through the county council.

The town is hoping for further good news next week when the Chancellor is expected to announce a package of flood mitigation measures in his Autumn Statement.

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