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Four magistrates courts to close in months

The Government's announced that it's closing a series of court buildings around the West as part of a modernisation programme aimed at reducing under-used facilities. It comes despite strong local oppositiion which only succeeded in saving one of the threatened courts, in Bath.

Magistrates' courts at Chippenham, Stroud, Gloucester and Yate will be shut over the next few months, as will a tribunal building in Cheltenham. It's not clear how many jobs are affected, but for witnesses and defendants in those areas there will clearly be longer journeys to attend hearings.

The inclusion of Chippenham on the list is perhaps a surprise, since it is only 25 years old and was purpose built to meet high security standards. But it is only used 40% of the time and costs half a million pounds a year to run. We spoke to MP for Chippenham Michelle Donelan.

Taxis replace trains via Trowbridge and Melksham

Taxis are currently replacing trains via Trowbridge and Melksham on Great Western Railway lines, between Westbury and Chippenham due to track circuit failure between Trowbridge and Chippenham.

Lines are currently closed and trains are unable to run on the Westbury branch line in both directions.

Passengers are being advised to travel via Bath Spa instead. Delays are expected until 7pm.

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Police searching for missing man find body

Police searching for a missing man from Chippenham have found a body in woodland in the nearby village of Stanton St Quintin.

One of the team of officers looking for 51-year-old Stephen Clarke spotted his Mitsubishi Shogun parked behind the village hall at just after 2.30pm today (Nov 8).

The discovery of a man's body in nearby woods was made shortly afterwards.

A formal identification is yet to take place, but Mr Clarke's family has been informed.

I would like to thank the public and the media for their assistance in trying to find Mr Clarke.

I would now ask that his family's privacy is respected at this sad time.

– Insp Chris Martin, Wiltshire Police


Three girls arrested following Chippenham fire

Five crews tackled the fire on Hungerdown Lane. Credit: Lewis Waugh

Three girls under 14 have been arrested on suspicion of arson after an empty building in Chippenham caught fire last night.

Two 14 year old girls and a 12 year old girl from Chippenham were arrested today. They are all currently in custody.

The fire in Hungerdown Lane was tackled by five Wiltshire fire crews, and gave off a large plume of smoke that could be seen from several miles away.

Police say they're still appealing for witnesses.

I would like to thank members of the public who have helped in our investigation so far. We are still appealing for witnesses to this fire, if you saw anything suspicious in or around The Middlefield Adult Training Centre, in Hungerdown Lane, between 3pm and 6pm yesterday afternoon please call me on 101, or if you wish to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

– PC Jamie Ball

Huge fire in Chippenham, smoke 'may cause problems'

Tony Weston saw the smoke from a train. Credit: Tony Weston

People near Hungerdown Lane in Chippenham are being advised to keep their doors and windows closed - a huge fire is burning at a derelict building in the town.

Five Wiltshire fire crews have been tackling the blaze since this afternoon. It is producing a large amount of smoke, which could be dangerous for those with existing respiratory conditions.

Police appeal for information about missing woman in Chippenham

Have you seen Margaret Grant? Credit: Wiltshire Police

Police are appealing for information about a woman who has gone missing in Chippenham.

Margaret Grant was last seen on Monday 12 October at her home in Manor Road. She has not contacted her family since, which is said to be out of character.

Police say Margaret has heart problems and needs medication which they think she does not have with her.


  • Large build
  • Shoulder length blond hair
  • May be wearing black jogging bottoms, plain t-shirt and blue anorak
  • Belived to have taken her car, a silver "55" plated Land Rover estate
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