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The end of an era for the vehicle tax disc

They've been a familiar sight on our windscreens for almost a century. But today, it's the end of an era for the tax disc. From now on, everything will be done digitally, using an electronic register to keep records.

The Government says it'll save money, but some motoring organisations say it could make fraud easier. Either way, those little perforated circles of paper will be missed by many. Andrea Thomas has been to meet some collectors from the South East, for whom life will never be the same again.

She spoke to collectors Jude Currie and Andrew Sheppard and Edmund King from the Automobile Association.

Black History Month marked across the South

Black History Month is being marked at venues across the south and one college in particular is pulling out all the stops.

In Southampton, they're marking 10 years' of events where students at City College have been learning about the struggles and successes of multi-cultural communities.

This afternoon, they kicked off four weeks of music, dance and exhibitions. Kerry Swain was there

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Gay couple denied London property because they're not a 'regular couple'

A gay couple trying to find a place to live in London say they were turned away from one property because they were not a 'regular couple'.

George Poole, an account manager from Kent, was looking to move to the capital with his boyfriend. But after enquiring about a house share, he received this surprising response.

George Poole is also a friend of 2012 Olympic Champion Greg Rutherford.

£10m improvements for M4 in Berkshire

A package of road improvements to the M4 in Berkshire with a value of around £10m is underway.

The series of projects includes improvements to the junction 10 interchange near Wokingham, bridge renovations and work to reduce the risk of flooding on the vital route, which is used by around 130,000 vehicles each day.

Surinder Bhangu, Asset Manager at the Highways Agency said:

“This is a significant investment in the M4, and shows our commitment to improving the M4, as well as keeping journeys on it safe and reliable. The improvements we’re making at junction 10 will reduce congestion and support the creation of more 6000 jobs and 9000 homes in the area by 2020. The other work will help to keep the M4 running safely and reliably for the many thousands of drivers who depend on it every day.”

The improvement work at junction 10 has been developed in support of the Wokingham Core Strategy for growth, and will change the road layout across the junction to improve traffic flow, as well as widening the link roads from the A329(M) to the M4. Work on the project is scheduled to start in November.

The other work includes:

Re-waterproofing and resurfacing four bridges under the M4 including the A329 Wokingham Road Bridge and the B3030 King Street Lane Bridge. This work is already underway, and will reduce the risk of corrosion to the bridges, reducing the need for short term repairs and urgent ad hoc carriageway repairs, which cause unexpected traffic delays and disruption. Repairing and updating parts of the drainage system along the M4 between junctions 8/9 and 10, to reduce the impact of potential flooding. Routine maintenance and repairs, which will be carried out alongside the other work to minimise its impact for road users. The work has been carefully planned and coordinated to keep any traffic delays to a minimum. There will regular overnight closures, each with fully signed diversions, and there will also be a contraflow on the M4 between junctions 8/9 and 10 from early October until the beginning of December.

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Is this your stolen jewellery?

Detectives have appealed for information to find the owners of watches and jewellery believed to have been stolen in burglaries in Essex.

Stole jewellery Credit: Essex Police

Officers at Grays, Essex are leading the investigation and believe that the watches and jewellery could have been taken in Essex, Kent, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire or Hertfordshire.

Stolen jewellery recovered Credit: Essex Police

Anyone who recognises the items in the photographs should contact DC Nicola Hadfield or DS David Wilkinson at Grays CID on 101.

Jewellery recovered by police Credit: Essex Police

Fire safety campaign targets Hampshire's over 65s

Your county needs you! Credit: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

A brand new fire safety campaign, aimed to make life safer for people aged 65 and over was launched in Hampshire today.

The campaign launch, which could not have been timelier following two separate incidents involving two vulnerable adults rescued from fires inside 24 hours, was the perfect opportunity for stakeholders and the public to view HFRS’s new home safety literature and get some vital home safety advice.

In less than 24 hours firefighters have attended two separate fires involving vulnerable adults over the ages of 65. These two incidents highlight the importance of HFRS’s older persons campaign, that launched today 1 October (Older Person’s Day) at the Spinnaker Tower.

The Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) drew the crowds in with their display on the Ariel Ladder Platform (ALP). There was the perfect opportunity for shoppers to test their fire safety skills within the Hazard House, while fiefighters and Community Safety Officers gave vital home safety advice and sold cupcakes and raffle tickets in aid of the Fire Fighters Charity and Age Concern.

The event was attended by many stakeholders and guests including Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor David Horne.

Councillor Horne said “This is a very important campaign, I’m sure we can all think of an older person whether it’s a neighbour or family member and we can really make a difference to their safety by simply checking their smoke alarm”

On Monday 29 September at 03:16 firefighters and police rescued an 86 year old disabled lady from a fire in her home in Portsmouth. The cause of the fire was a heater left on a foam cushioned chair.

The next day Tuesday 30 September firefighters attended a fire at an older couple’s thatched property in Andover in the early hours of the morning (02:59). In this case the cause of the fire was an electrical fault following the overloading of plug sockets.

These incidents are a timely reminder of fire safety for vulnerable people in the community, with the Service’s older person’s campaign launched at the Spinnaker Tower today.

During the three month campaign HFRS are asking the public to consider if they know an older person and raising awareness of basic life-saving fire safety measures we could all help them to maintain, such as a working smoke alarm.

The Service will also be focusing their Community Safety efforts towards older people and will be attending a number of events throughout the county, so be sure to check the HFRS events webpage www.hantsfire.gov.uk/events.htm

Area Manager Head of Prevention, Stew Adamson said: “The simplest of safety precautions like a working smoke alarm, can really make a huge difference whether on older person lives or dies in a fire.

“Our research shows that people aged 65 and over are a significantly more vulnerable group in society when it comes to dwelling fire fatalities. If you smoke, live alone or have any physical/learning disabilities the risk of dying in a fire increases dramatically.

“That’s why we are urging friends, families and neighbours of elderly people to help them test smoke detectors in their homes and visit www.hantsfire.gov.uk/athomefor more fire safety advice.

Teacher who secretly filmed children may have been considered 'low risk' by police

Former teacher may have been considered 'low risk' by busy force

A teacher who was found to have secretly filmed children at his school may have been considered "low risk" by detectives, according to the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner.

Martin Goldberg, who worked at Thorpe Hall School in Southend, was found dead at his home in Shoeburyness the day after Essex Police detectives spoke to him.

After his computer was seized, officers discovered hundreds of indecent images.

It is thought he had taken images of children at the school and other locations using a hidden camera.

The pictures are believed to date back to 2000 and feature boys aged between nine and 12.

It has since emerged that Essex Police had been alerted to the concerns about Goldberg, along with 34 other suspected paedophiles, nine months earlier, as part of Canadian police's Operation Spade, but did not act.

Speaking on the BBC's Today programme, the county's PCC Nick Alston said it was clear something had "gone wrong" but that Goldberg may not have been the force's highest priority, as it dealt with huge amounts of information.

Mr Alston also said the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) had received the information in 2012, but had taken a year to pass it on.

He said the force had charged two people in connection with the Operation Spade intelligence, adding: "It's not as if they were sitting doing nothing, it's a question of priorities".

A police spokesman said: "It is important to stress that we have found no evidence of any other offences by Mr Goldberg involving these children.

"At this time there is nothing to suggest that he made inappropriate physical contact with any child."

A34 will be closed during rush hour

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