ITV Meridian news in brief

ITV news as it breaks from across the south, south east and Thames Valley.

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Baker blasts opposition over Lords reform

Norman Baker Credit: Department for Transport

Reform of the House of Lords has been "sunk by a combination of Tory dinosaurs and Labour opportunists", according to Lewes Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker.

Following a speech today by Nick Clegg announcing that reforming the House of Lords was no longer possible in this Parliament, Mr Baker said he will support his leader by opposing Conservative plans to redraw the electoral boundaries - seen by many as a tit-for-tat response.

Mr Baker said: “The Conservative rebels have broken the contract which lies at the heart of this Government. That contract contained an explicit requirement to drive through Lords reform but they now say they can’t deliver. But they can’t pick and choose which bits of the Agreement they want.

“We have stuck to our part of the bargain, even if it hasn’t always been comfortable for us. The Tories have to realise that they are in a coalition, not a majority Government.

“As for Labour, we could of course have got Lords reform through if they had not decided to put short-term political advantage ahead of their own policies."

Council cracks down on blue badge misuse

A shopkeeper in Hastings has been successfully prosecuted for fraudulently using a blue badge.

Hastings Borough Council’s Parking Civil Enforcement Officers suspected that the badge was being used fraudulently in the St Andrews Square area.

It had been issued to a Mr Noble, and valid until September 2012. However, it was being used by Rodney Rix, who runs a shop in Waldergrave Street.

In a joint planned operation with Sussex Police, Rix was challenged and the badge seized.

He was subsequently prosecuted for misuse of the badge and yesterday pleaded guilty at Hastings Magistrates Court, where he was fined £500 and ordered to pay £1268 costs.

This criminal activity is a serious national issue and the council in partnership with the police fully intend to proactively deal with this problem."

– Cllr Phil Scott


New delay for Brighton trains

The go-ahead for new fleet of 1,200 train carriages for the Brighton line looks set to be delayed again.

Reports today suggest more time is needed to finalise the one billion pound contract with the German train supplier Siemens.

It is thought it may now be autumn before final approval is given for the trains which will run on the Thameslink route. The Government have been negotiating with the company since last June and says a contract will soon be placed. A deal had been expected before the Olympics.

The move has angered the union RMT who say the contract should have gone to a British company and will cost the UK thousands of jobs.

Quick thinking firefighters prevent flat fire

Firefighters say their swift actions stopped a balcony fire at a Southampton high-rise block spreading inside the building.

Crews were on the scene within minutes yesterday after smoke was reported issuing from a fourth-floor flat at Oslo Tower, International Way.

After establishing there were no people inside the flat, firefighters forced entry and quickly brought the small balcony fire under control using firefighting jets.

The cause of the blaze is now under investigation.

Next of kin appeal

The coroner for Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset is seeking the assistance of the public to find the next of kin of a woman who died in Bournemouth.

Joan Evelyn Fisher, known as Kitty, was 84 years old, and died at her home in Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth on 3rd August 2012.

The Coroner is making enquiries into the death, and it is not being treated as suspicious.

Anyone with any information should call 01202 789353.

Witness appeal after arson spate

Officers in Bournemouth are appealing for witnesses after a number of incidents of arson in the West Howe area of the town.

Wheelie bins were deliberately set alight between 2am and 3am on Sunday 23 July and Sunday 30 July 2012 in Moore Ave, Springwater Rd, Montgomery Ave and Cunningham Crescent.

Residents are encouraged to be vigilant and where possible to put their wheelie bins somewhere safe and secure.

Witnesses and anyone with information should call DorsetPolice in confidence on 101 quoting incident number 27:324.

Alternatively, call the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.


Snake abandoned in Surrey

The snake was named Jessica N Hiss (after the Olympian). Credit: RSPCA

A 6ft boa constrictor has been found abandoned in Surrey - the latest in a spate of exotic pets to be dumped on an RSPCA animal centre.

Staff got a shock when they opened a polystyrene box left outside their front gate - and found the reptile inside.

It was the third case in a week for South Godstone Animal Centre, which has also taken in a corn snake and three geckos.

The boa is a female which can grown up to 10ft in length and live for up to 20-30 years.

She was taken to Patcham Reptile Centre in Brighton and has already been found a new home with a specialist keeper.

Deers attacked by dogs

Baby roe deer from Copthorne attacked by a dog Credit: East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service

Rescuers have been left stunned after dealing with two severely injured dog attacked baby deer in 3 days.

Volunteers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service were called out to Earls Down (between Battle and Heathfield) on Tuesday after a retriever caught a fallow deer fawn.

They were called out again on Thursday to a fawn which was caught in stock fencing and then attacked by a Labra doodle dog just south of Dallington (again between Battle and Heathfield).

In the past month they have also had 3 other incidents to deal with too.

Body found in Burford

Thames Valley Police was called by a member of the public at around 9.40am who reported seeing a body in the river, close to Church Lane, in Burford.

Officers attended and the body of a woman was recovered at around 10.15am.

Police are working to identify the woman and establish the circumstances of her death. At this time it is too early to say whether her death is suspicious.

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