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Fire breaks out in centre of Lancaster

Around 40 firefighters have been dealing with a fire in Lancaster city centre.

The operation's centred on a gym on Penny Street, after the alarm was rasied at around 10:15 today.

Part of the area's been cordoned off and several buildings are understood to have been evacuated.


Watch: Moment James Anderson receives OBE from the Prince of Wales for services to cricket

This is the moment Lancastrian cricketer James Anderson received an OBE from the Prince of Wales for services to cricket.

The so-called "Burnley Express" became England's leading Test wicket-taker last year, surpassing Sir Ian Botham's milestone of 383.

Anderson has more than 430 test wickets and received the honour from Prince Charles during a Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony.

55,000 homes could be without power for days

Engineers have been working around the clock to repair damage to overhead power lines and electricity substations caused by severe gales and flooding in Lancaster and Cumbria.

55,000 properties in Lancaster, Morecambe, Carnforth and the surrounding area could be without power for a number of days following flooding to a major electricity substation.

Engineers from the power company are working with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service to determine when it is safe to access the flooded substation.

Lancaster University: Zero-tolerance drugs policy at our venues

Lancaster University and its Students' Union have released a statement after two students were admitted to hospital suffering the effects of taking drugs.

A spokesperson said:

"We are committed to being proactive in providing students with information about the risks of taking drugs. Information is shared through all our channels and there is a zero-tolerance drugs policy at our venues.

Police alerted us to a drug circulating in Lancaster at the weekend causing people to be treated in hospital and we have issued a warning and advice to students.Fortunately it appears that none of the individuals involved were seriously affected.


Woman still suffers 'agonising pain' after nitrogen shot

Gaby Scanlon still suffers 'episodes of agonising pain' after drinking a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen

A woman is still suffering 'episodes of agonising pain' more than two-and-a-half years after she drank a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen, her lawyer said.

Gaby Scanlon, from Heysham, Lancashire, was celebrating a 'low-key' 18th birthday with friends at Oscar's Wine Bar and Bistro in Lancaster in October 2012 when she drank the shot Nitro-Jagermeister.

Today, Oscar's Wine Bar pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to failing in the duty of an employer to ensure the safety of persons not in its employment and failing to ensure there was a safe system in place to prevent customers being exposed to injury from the consumption of the drink.

Welcoming the plea, the law firm representing Miss Scanlon and her family said the incident had "completely changed" the life of their client and that the effects had been "severe".

Patricia Noone, from Slater and Gordon, said:

"Gaby was an ordinary teenager with a bright future in front of her, but what happened on 4th October 2012, on what was intended as a low-key celebration for her 18th birthday, completely changed her life."

"She now suffers episodes of agonising pain and has been hospitalised several times. She has to avoid certain foods and can no longer enjoy eating, finding it hard to judge when she is full. She can only eat little and often and sometimes has to get up and snack several times during the night."

"She is unable to work full-time due to her lack of energy and frequent illness, and understandably her condition and the knowledge that crippling pain could attack her at any time has left her anxious."

"Gaby is a brave and determined young woman but there is no doubt that the effect on her has been severe. She has had to watch all her friends go off to university while she struggles to get her life back on track."

"Her hope and ours is that this serves as a warning to all bars and restaurants who must take responsibility for what they are serving to members of the public."

"It's reasonable to assume that what you are given in a bar or a restaurant is safe and they are legally obliged to make sure that is the case."

– Patricia Noone, Slater and Gordon

Oscar's Wine Bar Limited will be sentenced on September 17.

Bar admits failings over nitrogen-laced cocktail

A wine bar has admitted health and safety failings which left an 18-year-old girl in hospital after she drank a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen.

Gaby Scanlon, from Heysham in Lancashire, was celebrating her birthday with friends at Oscar's Wine Bar and Bistro in Lancaster in October 2012 when she drank the shot Nitro-Jagermeister.

Miss Scanlon, now aged 20, said her stomach began to expand and she was taken to Lancaster Royal Infirmary where a CT scan found a large perforation.

The student spent three weeks in hospital as doctors removed her stomach and connected her oesophagus directly to her small bowel.

Today, Oscar's Wine Bar Limited pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to one count of failing in the duty of an employer to ensure the safety of persons not in its employment.

In its plea the company admitted it failed to ensure the shot cocktail was safe for customers to consume.

It also failed to ensure there was a safe system in place with adequate controls to prevent customers being exposed to injury from the consumption of such drinks, and it had not made any suitable and sufficient risk assessment.

A verdict of not guilty was recorded against bar employee Matthew Harding, of George Street, Lancaster, who denied failing in his duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others at work. His plea was accepted by the Crown. It had been alleged he presented the Nitro-Jagermeister at the customer's table when it was still producing cold nitrogen gases and was unsafe to drink.

Oscar's Wine Bar Limited will be sentenced on September 17.

Queen enjoys Shakespeare and sheep-shearing in Lancaster visit

The Queen has been visiting Lancaster today Credit: Granada

The Queen was treated to Shakespeare and sheep-shearing on a visit to Lancaster today.

She travelled to the city on the Royal Train and was welcomed by hundreds of flag-waving well-wishers.

After a short journey from the railway station, along a route lined by representatives of the Army, Navy and RAF, the Queen arrived at the city's historic castle to be greeted with more enthusiastic cheers and applause - and a torrential downpour.

Wearing a turquoise outfit by Angela Kelly and a silver Duchy of Lancaster brooch, the Queen reached the castle's John O'Gaunt gate as the heavens opened, but the atrocious weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowds who crammed the narrow streets as a band from the Royal Corps of Signals played the National Anthem.

After the ceremonial handing over of the castle keys to the monarch, Nancy Weedy, an eight-year-old chorister at Lancaster Priory, presented the Queen with a posy of red roses, a symbol of Lancashire, the "Red Rose county".

Inside the castle's Chapel Yard, a group of excited girls from the 5th Lancaster, Bowerham Brownies and boys from the 35th Lancaster, Skerton Cubs, by now drenched by the rain, waited to be presented to the Queen.

The royal visitor was then invited to take a seat under a canopy for a short performance from Shakespeare's Richard II, the speech given by John O'Gaunt, an evocation of England's past glories, including the famous lines: "This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle ...This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England."

After visiting the castle, the royal moved on to the village of Bilsborrow, home to Myerscough College.

In the college's Livery Yard, Phoebe Colton, 26, from Lancaster, and Nicol Coulter, 29, from Preston, who are farriery apprentices, gave a demonstration in the art of shoeing horses.

The Queen watched as they worked on a skewbald horse called Guild and a bay horse called Gisburn - two giant, 17-hand horses with the mounted section of Lancashire Police.

Mounted Police Sergeant Christine Driver, who rides Guild, said: "She said how big he was, how he must be a mountain to climb to get on."

"The horses were very well behaved, they are used to people and crowds."

The Queen was then shown a display of cattle, with one beast in particular keen to get a closer look at the royal visitor.

Apparently unperturbed by the animal's curiosity, it was pulled back into line by its handlers before it could get any closer to the 89-year-old monarch.

Finally, 17-year-old Alex Kiriakos, from Todmorden, had the daunting task of shearing a sheep live in front of the Queen, watched by his fellow students and a large gathering of press and TV cameras.

Afterwards, the teenager said: "She said, 'Have you ever done shearing before? How do you control the sheep?"

"I was a bit nervous, but it's an experience that's a once in a lifetime opportunity."

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