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Investigation underway into huge recycling centre fire

Firefighters have spent the day damping down after a massive blaze at an industrial recycling centre in Sussex.

It broke out last night at Light Brothers depot in Southerham near Lewes, engulfing 100 tonnes of waste material.

A plume of dense, black smoke could be seen from at least 20 miles away.

People living nearby were warned to keep their doors and windows closed, as Malcolm Shaw reports.

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Headteachers lead protests over education cuts

Dozens of schools in Sussex have been staging demonstrations today against cuts in government funding.

Campaigners joined teachers to unfurl banners, detailing the money they say they'll lose under a new system of school budgets.

In Brighton and Hove, each school could be almost £200,000 worse off, that's nearly £200 per pupil.

The group Save Our Schools claims there'll be bigger classes and fewer staff.

But the government says it's putting record amounts of cash into education, as Malcolm Shaw reports.

Fake railway ticket ringleader jailed

A taxi driver who made and sold fake railway tickets to fund a lavish lifestyle has been jailed for three years.

James Jennings, aged 51, of Owls Road, Bournemouth, a part-time taxi driver, led an organised criminal enterprise in making and selling fake railway tickets between 2009 and 2016.

Fraudster Jennings jailed for three yeras Credit: British Transport Police

Jennings pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court to one charge of making and selling a false ticket and and was sentenced to three years in prison.

He had prior knowledge of the railway industry having worked for South West Trains until 2004. He began producing open-ended railway tickets to order, using blank tickets and a computer and printer. The tickets were for travel all over the country, but a large proportion of his client base was in Bournemouth.

His house was searched and a red holdall containing a printer and computer items was recovered. The printer was forensically examined and was found to have been printing railway tickets.

Three other people have been sentenced for their involvement in the scam over a number of years in the Bournemouth area.

Marc Julian Garcia, aged 56, of Golden Green, Tonbridge, pleaded guilty to supplying or offering to supply fraudulent tickets and was given a six month community order plus a curfew for six weeks. He was also ordered to pay £500 in costs.

His son Marc Oliver James Garcia, aged 26, of Golden Green, Tonbridge, pleaded guilty to possessing articles for use in fraud. He was ordered to pay £380 compensation, £120 fine and £500 costs.

Mark Duroe, aged 44, of Warwick Road, Bournemouth, also pleaded guilty to possessing articles for use in fraud and was ordered to pay £4036 compensation, £500 fine and £500 costs.

This was a sophisticated fraud organised by an individual who used to work on the railway and used his insider knowledge to circumvent an attempt to create fraudulent tickets, not only exposing himself to risk but also those who purchased from him.

Over the years he became more and more blatant about the onward sale and exchange of fraudulently produced rail tickets for cash and his confidence was buoyed as he avoided detection.

Fraud on this scale against railway companies tends to have a knock-on effect on the public.

It is not right that some people should enjoy an opulent lifestyle at the expense of others, by stealing from legitimate companies, causing losses to their revenue and as a result impacting on the costs of rail fares for honest, paying passengers.

– Det Sgt Nick Thompson

Boy says he thought he would die as police treat fire as suspected arson

An eight year-old boy has spoken of his terror as he cowered in an upstairs bathroom as fire spread through his Basingstoke home.

I thought I was going to die.

– Connor Wakes

Connor Wakes had been watching television with his family when they were suddenly aware there was smoke in the house

As panic set in, Connor ran for his life as flames and smoke began filling his home above a shop in Watson Way.

As smoke filled the house he was separated from Mum Hannah and headed for what he thought was the safest place.

Locking himself in the bathroom Connor put a pair of trousers over his mouth as he struggled to breathe.

Neighbours came to the rescue bringing ladders to try and rescue the family. Mum Hannah and her five year-old son were helped to safety through a back door, but Connor was locked in a top floor bathroom with no escape.

Firefighters from red Watch managed to pull Connor from the bathroom and he was taken to Basingstoke Hospital.

Amazingly, despite his ordeal he only suffered a sore throat. Mum Hannah , 26 can't believe Connor is still with her.

I didn't think he would come out alive he was stuck inside for ten minutes.

We can't thank the fire service and everyone who came to help enough, without them Connor may not be with us today.

– Hannah Morris

The exact cause of the fire is still unknown and police are treating the fire as a suspected arson until the cause has been established.

They are appealing for people who were in the Winklebury area at 8pm on Wednesday May 3 to come forward

We are really keen to find out more about what happened that evening Were you in the Watson Way area? Perhaps you were visiting one of the shops in the parade or the nearby pub? Did you see anything suspicious?

– DC Dan Lewis

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Children's parade kicks off Brighton Festival in style

It's become the biggest event of its kind in Europe. Thousands have taken to the streets of Brighton for this year's Children's Parade.

Eighty schools from the across the city have spent months working on their spectacular costumes and puppets.

The procession marks the start of the Brighton Festival, as Malcolm Shaw now reports.

One year on, no end in sight for Southern rail dispute

Rail workers staged a protest outside Parliament today in their long-running dispute with the train operator Southern.

Members of the RMT union are still fighting the introduction of driver-only operation. Southern says the changes it's brought in free up staff to help commuters.

The year-long dispute has seen 31 strike days. In 2016, almost sixty thousand Southern services were either fully or partly cancelled. It's the longest dispute on the railways since 1994.

But disabled passengers in particular say the service has gone from bad to worse. Malcolm Shaw reports.

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