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Grieving family told 7ft 9in coffin is 'too long for crematorium'

The grieving family of a 7ft 2in man from Stoke-on-Trent have been told his coffin is too long to fit into local crematoriums.

Relatives of Graham Mellor - the "gentle giant" - now face a 35-mile journey from North Staffordshire to a larger crematorium near Burton-on-Trent.

Mr Mellor died a fortnight ago aged 72. His coffin is a total length of 7ft 9in.

The borough council passes its condolences to the family and is very sorry it can't accommodate their wishes. This is an extraordinary case and something we've never seen before.

– Cllr Elsie Bates

The family of Mr Mellor have arranged a local funeral service and will attend his crematorium at Bretby, near Burton, the following day.

New case of Legionnaires' disease

Another case of Legionnaires' disease has been confirmed in Stoke-on-Trent following an outbreak in the city thought to be linked to a hot tub.

The Health Protection Agency said the latest case brings the total to 21. The patient, who is being treated at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, is a man in his 70s.

Two patients being treated for the disease since the spate of illnesses began in the middle of July have died.

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Man arrested after explosions at three homes near Stoke-on-Trent

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after explosions at three homes.

Staffordshire Police said officers received reports of blasts at houses in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Moorlands area last night.

A spokesman said:

Shortly before 10pm last night, police were called to a house in Peters Lane, Blythe Bridge.

A short time later another report was received at a house in Dandelion Avenue in Cheadle and just after 10.15pm a further report was received from a house in Axon Crescent, Weston Coyney.

Fortunately no one was injured and all three residential properties sustained minimal damage.

A 44-year-old man from Cheadle was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and is currently being interviewed by detectives.

Hot tub may be Legionnaires' source

A hot tub is thought to have been the probable source of an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease, the Health Protection Agency has said.

Based at JTF Warehouse in City Road, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, samples taken from the hot tub were found to have an unusual strain of legionella bacteria, which matched that of the strain taken from patients with the illness.

Dr Sue Ibbotson, regional director of Health Protection Agency, West Midlands, said the organisation has taken histories from those with Legionnaires and 17 of the 18 confirmed cases visited the warehouse in the two weeks before they fell ill. One patient died after being affected by the disease.

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