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Shopping Centre evacuated after suspicious items found

The West Cross Shopping Centre on Oldbury Road in Smethwick has been evacuated as a precaution after the discovery of suspicious items at a flat this morning.

Roads within 100 metres of the shopping centre have also been cordoned off Credit: Google Maps

Roads within 100 metres of the shopping centre have also been cordoned off including Marriott Road, Malin Street, West End Avenue, part of Oldbury Road and Narel Sharpe Close.

Officers were called to the property above a shop at around 11.20am after concerns were raised by an ambulance crew who were tending to a patient at the address.

The Hazardous Area Response Team is carrying out an initial examination of the items.

The Army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit is also currently en route to the scene.

People in the area are advised to follow the instructions of police and other emergency services personnel at the scene and to evacuate only if asked to do so.

Force Incident Manager, Chief Inspector Sean Phillips, said:

I recognise the impact the evacuation will have on local people and I would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

The safety of the public is our primary concern and we’re working closely with our partners to minimise the effect on the community and thank everyone for their understanding and patience.

We hope to have the area returned to normality as soon as possible.

– Force Incident Manager, Chief Inspector Sean Phillips

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Appeal for information after little girl falls from tower block in Birmingham

Police are continuing to appeal for information after an 18 month old child fell from a block of flats in Birmingham on Monday.

The little girl, named locally as Elean had fallen from a window on the seventh floor in Great Hampton Row Credit: ITV News Central

The little girl, named locally as Elean, fell to her death from a window on the seventh floor in Great Hampton Row, Hockley.

She died at the scene, and a post mortem examination has concluded that she died as a result of a head injury consistent with a fall.

Detective Sergeant Neil Hunt, from West Midlands Police, said:

This is a tragic incident and officers are trying to establish exactly what happened. We are appealing for anyone who saw anything leading up to the tragic death of the child to get in touch.

Our thoughts go out to the family who are being supported by specially trained officers at this difficult time.

– Detective Sergeant Neil Hunt, West Midlands Police

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  1. Chris Halpin

Could 'Culture Levy' on hotels help fund Birmingham arts?

A significant reboot - that's what's needed for the future of funding for arts and culture in Birmingham according to a report out today.

It's calling on greater collaboration and investment by businesses and universities as many cultural institutions struggle with funding after years of cuts from local government.

Ideas include organisations taking loans from businesses, borrowing on buildings, through to more radical ideas like Dragon's Den style pitches for particular arts money making ideas or putting a culture levy on hotel rooms.

Around 65 thousand people are employed in the sector in the Midlands, but without reform it's feared a lack of funding could put the region's world class culture at risk. Chris Halpin reports in the second part of our special series, Culture Shock: The Future of our Arts.

Investigation launched after shots fired in street

Credit: Google Street View

Police are appealing for witnesses after firearms officers responded to reports of gunshots in Barrows Road in Sparkbrook just after 8:15pm last night (20 July).

Two cars were found with gunshot damage and have been seized for detailed examination.

The area was sealed off while forensic officers examined the scene but the cordon has since been lifted.

Just after 11pm officers were called to the QE hospital where a man had arrived with non-life threatening gunshot injuries to his shoulder. The 22-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder, but remains in hospital for treatment.

Anyone with any information call police on 101.

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