Live updates

Body discovered in burnt out car

A body has been discovered in a burnt out car near Cradley Heath railway station.

Police were alerted to the find at around 9:20pm last night. An investigation is now underway.

The identity of the body is yet to be identified due to the severity of the fire.

A post-mortem examination is due to take place tomorrow.

The death is being treated as unexplained.


Crowds enjoy May Day event near Birmingham

The bank holiday event attracts thousands of people each year Credit: ITV News Central

Around 22,000 people are expected to attend the 'Smethwick Fusion' event at Lightwoods Park near Birmingham today. Earlier today the organisers claim the UK's first Morris vs Bhangra dance-off took place.

Crowds at the event Credit: ITV News Central
A Punch and Judy show Credit: ITV News Central
The event is being held at Lightwoods Park Credit: ITV News Central

Morris vs Bhangra 'dance-off' at May Day festival

Thousands of people are expected to descend on a Sandwell park for a May Day festival today - and are in for a unique treat.

What is thought to be the first ever dance-off between Morris men and Bhangra dancers is being staged at the event in Lightwoods Park, Smethwick.

In total around 22,000 people are expected to attend the May Day festival at the park.

The event also includes a live music stage with a line-up including 80s reggae band Musical Youth.

Robbers lock staff in cricket club fridge in Birmingham

Robbers locked four people in a fridge in a cricket club Credit: West Midlands Police

An investigation is underway after staff and customers were locked in a refrigerated cellar by robbers.

A female staff member and three customers were approached by a group of four men as the woman locked up at the Old Hall Cricket Club in Sandwell at around midnight on Sunday morning.

The group threatened the woman with a screwdriver and made her hand over her possessions.

They were then forced into the refrigerated cellar as the robbers stole cash and spirits.

DC Derek Cole from the Acquisitive Crime Team in Force CID is leading the inquiry. He said:

This was very distressing for the four people caught up in the raid, as they were forced to hand over their money and personal goods before being made to get into the cellar.

They were down there, in the refrigerated space, for around an hour before managing to break out and raise the alarm.

The men were all in their 20s wearing dark coloured tracksuits with hoods.

Carpentry, joinery and fashion among careers on show

Careers in carpentry, joinery, fashion and sports will all be on show today as hundreds of students in the Black Country will get the chance to try their hand at potential jobs for the future.

Sandwell College and Walsall College have teamed up to hold the Sandwell & Walsall Skills Show Experience, which will be staged at Bank's Stadium in Walsall from 10am until 7pm.

Carpentry is one of the careers on show today Credit: NEIL MUNNS/PA

Food demonstrations, dog grooming, nail art, business quizzes, computer games design, a virtual catwalk and an automotive challenge will all be taking place, while employers including the NHS, Bandals and the AA will be offering advice to job hunters.

Scott Upton, vice principal at Sandwell College, welcomed the launch of the event.

Skills are the key to people building rewarding careers as the economy recovers.

At this event, a wide range of skills will be on show, as well as opportunities for young people and young adults who are the future of our region.


Midland hospitals accused of death rates 'cover up'

Hospitals could be covering up poor treatment by fiddling death rates, experts warned today, as a new report reveals a dramatic rise in the number of people listed as needed palliative care.

Two Midland heath trusts were named by analysts Dr Foster in the top 20 across the country for the highest increase in palliative patients.

Hospital death records could be used to cover up poor treatment, according to a new report Credit: PA

Palliative care includes treatment to help relieve suffering when a patient has a terminal illness, and patients who die under such care are recorded differently to others - leading to fears the increase could indicate a cover-up by heath bosses to make their death figures seem better than they are.

Across England last year, 36,425 deaths were coded as palliative - 17.3 per cent of the total number of deaths. This is almost double the 9.1 per cent recorded in 2008.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust in the West Midlands and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were both named in the top 20.

Two West Midlands Police officers jailed for stealing

Two West Midlands Police officers have been jailed after admitting stealing money and cigarettes from a house they were searching last July.

Mark Davis, 30, and Neil Samuels, 33, who were both response officers in Sandwell, have been sentenced to 20 weeks in prison.

Both PCs pleaded guilty at a hearing at Birmingham Magistrates' Court in February to stealing while searching a property in Oldbury.

Police officers take a vow to serve the public and uphold the law with fairness, integrity and impartiality. Any that fall short of those standards, or who abuse their position, will face disciplinary action, the prospect of criminal prosecution and potential dismissal.

As soon as the pair were suspected of acting improperly an investigation was launched culminating in the dedicated integrity test and their arrests and suspensions.

– Superintendent Tim Godwin

Five arrested over £120m tobacco smuggling scheme

Five men from Sandwell have been arrested as customs officers probe a £120 million tobacco smuggling fraud.

Around 130 investigators teamed up with West Midlands Police for a series of early morning raids at 10 houses and three commercial properties in Smethwick, West Bromwich and Great Barr.

It comes after officials seized 16,000,000 cigarettes and £600,000 cash.

Two men aged 39 and 41 were arrested from Smethwick, along with two aged 37 and 39 from Great Barr, and a 39-year-old man from West Bromwich.

Load more updates