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Police shut down illegal raves in Bath and South Gloucestershire

Police shut down two illegal raves in South Gloucestershire and Bath overnight after calls from local residents.

A group of around 200 people were found partying in muddy conditions under the Bath to Bristol railway line, with some straying onto the train tracks.

CCTV showing the illegal rave Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

A police operation involving local officers, mounted and dog units and staff from British Transport Police eventually cleared the site by 6 o'clock this morning (Sunday 26th June)

Meanwhile, they were also alerted to a second, smaller gathering in Nupdown Lane in Oldbury-on-Severn just after midnight.

The event had been advertised on social media and police worked to stop more people joining the 50 to 60 who had already gathered.

A closure notice was issued and the sound system seized. Police say the site was cleared by 5am on Sunday (26th June)

We are grateful to the local community for their support in identifying both events at an early stage so that we could take direct action.

It is always challenging to manage large numbers of people in the dark, in the rain and in the mud especially near railway lines or close to the seashore but on this occasion we were able to act swiftly on the information provided by residents, to stop the disturbance promptly.

– Superintendent Chris Weigold, Avon & Somerset Police
Credit: PA

Arrest made in Melanie Hall murder investigation

A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of Bath woman Melanie Hall.

The 45-year-old man was arrested on Thursday, just two weeks after her parents offered a £50,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

He remains in custody for questioning.

Melanie Hall disappeared in 1996 Credit: Family

The 25-year-old was last seen at Cadillac's Nightclub in Bath in 1996.

Her remains were found 13 years later by the side of the M5 in Gloucestershire.

Police say they believe DNA evidence has brought them one step closer to finding Melanie's killer.

Melanie’s parents have been informed of the arrest and will continue to be supported and updated on the progress of our inquiry by specialist family liaison officers.

– Det Supt Andy Bevan
Melanie was declared legally dead in 2004 Credit: Avon and Somerset Police


Athletics stars recognised by University of Bath

Malcolm Arnold and Colin Jackson at the University of Bath Sports Village in 2012 Credit: ITV News

Two athletics legends have been inducted into the University of Bath's Hall of Fame for Sport.

Malcolm Arnold Credit: PA

Coach Malcolm Arnold has been based at the University since 1998. He has a long list of Olympic medal-winners among his charges - from gold medallist John Akii-Bua in 1972 to both Colin Jackson and Jason Gardener.

Colin Jackson Credit: PA

Seoul 1988 Olympic silver medallist Jackson was inducted during the same ceremony.

The Welsh hurdler has been recognised for his impact on and inspiration for athletics at the University.

Bristol and Bath politicians sign open letter urging remain vote

Bristol and Bath politicians have joined forces to urge their constituents to vote remain in the EU Referendum.

In an open letter the 14 MPs, MEPs and councillors said a Brexit would be bad for the area.

The listed the amount of money given to the region's universities by the EU, adding, "it is thanks to our EU membership that the Bristol and Bath area is home to world-class universities".

The Leave campaign points out this is a national - not constituency vote - with opinion polls suggesting it is a very close contest.

In the letter they wrote:

Last year, we were all campaigning against each other.

This year, we are united in our view that Brexit would be bad for Bristol and Bath.

You might care about the environment, or the fact that our economy is still fragile after the great financial recession of 2008.

You might value your rights as workers, or the education and research opportunities available to you as a student or young person. Bristol University and UWE combined have received £129 million in funding from the EU in the last 3 years alone, and Bath Spa and Bath University have also benefitted a huge amount. It is thanks to our EU membership that the Bristol and Bath area is home to world-class universities.

You may enjoy our clean beaches and bathing water or visiting some of the UK’s precious wildlife habitats, protected thanks to EU regulations.

You might remember the sacrifice of European war, or value the cooperation and arrest powers available to Britain across Europe.

You may have children or grandchildren whose future is your priority, whom you want to have the choice to study, work, travel and do business anywhere in the European Union, or you may be thinking about your own retirement plans.

You may enjoying travelling around the European Union without visas, with free health care thanks to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), and enjoying ever - lower roaming charges on your phone, thanks to our European Members of Parliament.

You might work in one of the 45,000 jobs in Bristol that will be at risk if we leave the EU, or you might run your own business selling your products and skills to the largest trading block in the World. South West businesses export 55% of their total exports to the European Union, which makes clear what an important trading partner the EU is.

Bristol is a leading European city. Our local economy is strong, in part, because of our strong trading roots with the continent.

We have come together, as political foes, to ask you to vote for Bristol. Next Thursday your vote will have an impact of our city for generations to come.

Bristol is stronger, safer, and better off with Britain as a member of the European Union.

We ask you to stand with us to vote for that future. Vote Remain on Thursday 23rd June.

– Open letter
Credit: PA

Is your politician on the list? Here's who signed the letter:

  • Marvin Rees – Mayor of Bristol
  • Clare Moody – Labour MEP for South West England and Gibraltar
  • Darren Jones – 2015 Labour Parliamentary candidate for Bristol North West
  • Thangam Debbonaire – MP for Bristol West and Shadow Culture Minister
  • Ben Howlett – MP for Bath
  • Karin Smyth –PPS to Shadow Health Secretary and MP for Bristol South
  • Kerry McCarthy – Shadow Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs and MP for Bristol East
  • Helen Holland – Bristol Labour councillor and cabinet member for Place
  • Tony Dyer – 2016 Green candidate for Bristol Mayor
  • Brenda Massey – Labour councillor
  • Mark Bradshaw – Labour councillor and cabinet member for Transport
  • Clare Campion-Smith – 2015 Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Bristol North West and Lord Mayor of Bristol
  • Justin Quinell – 2015 Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Bristol North West
  • Molly Scott-Cato – Green Party MEP for South West England and Gibraltar

Bath judo athlete secures Olympics place

With 50 days to go until the Rio Olympic Games, Team GB's judo squad have selected their athletes heading to Brazil.

Benjamin Fletcher (men’s -100kg) 24, Bath, Somerset. Credit: Team GB

Benjamin Fletcher from Bath in Somerset completes the men’s line-up and will go in the -100kg division, having turned out for Team GB at the European Games last year.

The selected squad of judo athletes comprises four women and three men and includes three judoka who competed for Team GB at London 2012.


Melanie Hall's parents offer £50,000 reward

The parents of Melanie Hall have offered a £50,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of her killer. The 25 year old was last seen at Cadillac's Nightclub in Bath in 1996. Her remains were found 13 years later by the side of the M5 in Gloucestershire. Police say they believe DNA evidence has brought them one step closer to finding Melanie's killer.

Melanie Hall, murdered Bath woman Credit: Family photo

The reward being offered by Melanie and Pat Hall is on top of the £10,000 reward already put up by Crimestoppers.

We believe we’re in touching distance of a significant breakthrough and feel it’s the right time to offer a substantial reward to encourage someone to come forward with information.

Someone may have been wavering over whether to provide information for a long time. This amount of money is life-changing and I hope it will provide the incentive for them to do the right thing. The loss of Melanie has been life-changing for us and we’ll never be the same people as we were before Melanie disappeared.

– Steve Hall, Melanie's father

Police receive 'significant' information after Melanie Hall appeal

Family photos of Melanie Hall, 25 Credit: Family

Police investigating the murder of a young woman twenty years ago say they've received potentially significant information.

It follows a renewed appeal by the officer in charge of the case. Melanie Hall, 25, was last seen at Cadillac's Nightclub in Bath in 1996.

Her remains were found 13 years later by the side of the M5 in Gloucestershire. Police say they believe DNA evidence has brought them one step closer to finding Melanie's killer.

Some of the calls provided names of potential suspects, some related to the outstanding items of Melanie’s property which have never been found and others were reporting suspicious activity around the motorway slipway where Melanie’s remains were found.

– Det Supt Bevan
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