Live updates

Government urges businesses to be more accessible to disabled people

The government is urging businesses across the region to be more accessible to disabled people. It comes after a warning that shops could be excluding millions of customers.

Research among 1,200 disabled people showed that shopping was the most difficult experience for accessibility. The cinema, theatres or concerts, and pubs and restaurants, were also on the list for accessibility concerns.

We want businesses up and down our high streets to realise they're excluding more than 12 million customers and their families if they fail to cater for disabled people.

That's the equivalent to the populations of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Cardiff and Manchester combined.

It's not just about fairness, it makes good business sense to be accessible.

– Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper

The minister has written to more than 200 of Britain's biggest businesses and more than 80 trade organisations as part of a call to communities to be more accessible to disabled people and their families.

'Rat droppings' and 'dead flies' in some fake cigarettes

Trading Standards officers say fake cigarettes are damaging the health and wealth of communities across the Midlands.

They have been at Coalville Market in Leicestershire to warn shoppers about some of the ingredients that counterfeiters put into their products.

Officers also say the illegal trade is putting reputable traders out of business, as well as being highly dangerous to smokers.

READ: Warnings over dangers of counterfeit cigarettes

READ: Birmingham worst city in UK for fake cigarettes

Advertisement

Birmingham worst city in UK for fake cigarettes

Birmingham has been branded the worst city in the UK for illicit cigarette sales
Birmingham has been branded the worst city in the UK for illicit cigarette sales Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Birmingham has been branded the worst city in the UK for illicit cigarette sales.

120 packs were sold to undercover investigators from 48 shops in just three days.

The test purchasers, who were working on behalf of one of the world's largest tobacco companies, were able to buy the cut-price products all over the city - including from a pet shop.

Police hunt men after sexual assault in taxi

Police are looking for these two men in connection with the sexual assault of a woman in Birmingham
Police are looking for these two men in connection with the sexual assault of a woman in Birmingham Credit: West Midlands Police

Police want to speak to two men after a woman was sexually assaulted in a taxi in Birmingham.

The woman had left the Old Hare and Hounds pub on Lickey Road in Rednal and was travelling home with a group of people in the early hours of June 29 when the attack happened.

"This lady was preyed upon by someone who took the opportunity to sexually assault her when she was incapable of defending herself."

– DC Karl Mumby, from West Midlands Police's Public Protection Unit

Advertisement

Appeal for witnesses after sledgehammer attack

Zbbx6mha_normal

We need witnesses to come forward after a PC was attacked with a sledgehammer as he tackled ATM raiders. Pls RT: http://t.co/6oJ5A9mXIS

Police have renewed their appeal for witnesses to come forward after a police officer responding to a report of a raid on a Sandwell cash machine was attacked with a sledgehammer.

The attack happened on Sunday night during a botched raid at the Tesco Express store ATM on Hamstead Road.

Man in court accused of abducting missing teenager

A Birmingham man has appeared in court, accused of child abduction, in connection with the disappearance of a West Bromwich teenager.

Mohammed Khan, of Arundel Place, Sparkhill was arrested when police visited his flat on Saturday morning and found a missing 13-year-old girl, who was last seen by her concerned family on 29 July,

Khan, 20, was arrested on suspicion of abducting the teenager along with a 16-year-old boy who was also at the flat. He has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

A 23-year-old man arrested earlier this month in connection with the girl’s disappearance remains on police bail while inquiries continue.

Khan was charged on Sunday night with child abduction and appeared before Birmingham Magistrates Court yesterday where he was remanded in custody. He will appear before Birmingham Crown Court on 8 September.

Beware of fake cigarettes containing arsenic, mould and rat droppings, say Trading Standards

Trading Standards warn about fake cigarettes
Credit: PA wire

Counterfeit cigarettes can contain arsenic, mould and rat droppings - according to Trading Standards in Leicester. These ingredients have been found in cigarettes they've seized.

They're warning about the dangers today with a live demonstration in Coalville, as they create cigarettes using some of the lethal ingredients tests have detected.

"Often the raw tobacco inside is mixed with potentially deadly chemicals and waste products. You wouldn't eat anything with rat droppings in it - so why would you smoke it?"

– Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for Trading Standards, Joe Orson

Trading Standards say the trade in illegal tobacco is used to fund organised crime gangs, and undercuts legitimate businesses, as well as endangering the health of those who buy them.

Police officer attacked with a sledgehammer

map
The attack happened on Hampstead Road Credit: ITV News Central

A police officer responding to a report of a raid on a Sandwell cash machine has been attacked with a sledgehammer.

The 41-year-old was one of two officers who were first to arrive at the scene and was targeted by one man in a three-strong gang.

The attack happened shortly before midnight last night during a botched raid at the Tesco Express store ATM on Hamstead Road.

As the window of his police car was smashed the officer was struck in the head and arm with the sledgehammer.

The group then fled in what is believed to be a dark coloured, high powered, Audi A6 estate which was using false number plates.

Chief Inspector Havrvi Khatkar, from West Midlands Police, said:

Day in day out our officers put their safety on the line to protect the public from some exceptionally dangerous criminals.

Thankfully in this case the officer escaped major injury, but these were clearly desperate thieves who must be tracked down.

As the gang drove off, the boot of the car was open. People who were in the area at the time may remember this. I’d urge those people to get in touch along with anyone who saw a dark coloured estate in the area before the crime.

The officer, who is from Sandwell and joined the force in 2007, was taken to hospital and discharged following treatment for multiple cuts, bruising and severe swelling to his face and arm.

The store was closed at the time and no one else was injured. All three men were dressed in dark coloured clothing and had their faces covered.

CCTV footage which may have captured the crime on camera has been secured and is currently scrutinised by detectives.

Tools used in the raid and which were left at the scene have been seized by police for detailed forensic examination.

Load more updates

Advertisement

Today's top stories