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President Obama will arrive into Gloucestershire's RAF Fairford

President Obama will arrive into Gloucestershire's RAF Fairford
President Obama will arrive into Gloucestershire's RAF Fairford Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

A massive security operation is underway this evening at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire ahead of the arrival of the President of the United States Barrack Obama.

We can confirm that Air Force One will land tomorrow evening ahead of the NATO summit in Newport which starts on Thursday. Security has also been stepped up on the West's motorways and police officers from around the country have been drafted in, and are staying at a temporary base in Thornbury.

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West Country (W)

Bishop of Taunton to retire

bishop
Bishop Peter Maurice with his wife Liz Credit: Diocese of Bath & Wells

The Bishop of Taunton has announced he's to retire next spring after more than 40 years as a clergyman. The Right Rev Peter Maurice has been Bishop for the past eight years and was previously Archdeacon of Wells. He said he and his wife Liz were looking forward to spending more time together after he turns 64 next April. More details here.

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Swindon men jailed for child sex offences

Two men have each been jailed for seven years at Swindon Crown Court after admitting sex offences against children.

Royston Gonsalves, 25, of Ponting Street, Swindon, and Filbert Antao, 22, of Axbridge Close, Swindon, had each pleaded guilty to four counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child. The victims were three girls aged 13, 14 and 14 at the time of the offences.

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Royston Gonsalves
Royston Gonsalves - jailed for seven years Credit: Wiltshire Police

"Gonsalves and Antao preyed on these vulnerable children and exploited them for their own sexual gratification.

"Both sexually abused the children on several occasions during a prolonged cycle of manipulation and abuse.

"I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to these young victims who have shown courage and bravery by coming forward and reporting the horrific abuse they were being subjected to.

"This case is a good example of us working with partner agencies and charities to bring the most dangerous sexual offenders to justice whilst supporting and rehabilitating the young victims.

"I would urge anyone who has been the victim of any sexual assault to contact Wiltshire Police immediately – we have dedicated officers who are specially trained to help those who have been abused."

– Supt Andrew Carr, Wiltshire Police
Filbert Antao
Filbert Antao - jailed for seven years Credit: Wiltshire Police

Police reinforcements gather in Thornbury ahead of Nato summit

Nato summit will be held at the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport
Nato summit will be held at the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

Thousands of police officers from across the country are gathering in Thornbury in South Gloucestershire ahead of the Nato Summit which begins on Thursday.

Former council buildings are being used as police headquarters during the international security meetings. Officers will be keeping watch over roads and bridges along the M4 leading to the outskirts of Cardiff, where the Summit takes place.

Eric Pickles says changes need to be made at Somerset County Council

Peter Lewis was appointed in May 2013 to turn around Children's Services at Somerset County Council
Peter Lewis was appointed in May 2013 to turn around Children's Services at Somerset County Council Credit: ITV West Country

The Local Government secretary Eric Pickles has weighed into the row over the money paid to the head of Children's Services at Somerset County Council.

Peter Lewis was appointed in May 2013 to turn around the service after an Ofsted report found Child Protection there was inadequate. He costs the council £318,500 a year, although an employment agency takes a percentage of the fee.

Mr Lewis is paid through a company he owns which means he has the potential to pay lower tax on dividends rather than the higher tax a normal salary would attract. It's a legal scheme but it has been banned in the civil service and NHS.

Somerset County Council says Mr Lewis' tax affairs are a matter for him and the inland revenue but this afternoon Mr Pickles said:

This Government is committed to tackling all forms of tax avoidance, and has given clear guidance to councils to stop dubious pay arrangements through personal service companies. We've changed the law to reduce secrecy on town hall pay deals, and given elected councillors the power to veto excessive senior pay. Councillors now need to use these powers - and they should be held to account if they turn a blind eye.

– Local Government secretary Eric Pickles
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