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Bingley-born Likely Lads actor Rodney Bewes dies aged 79

BINGLEY-born Likely Lads star Rodney Bewes has died aged 79, his agent confirmed.

The actor – best known for his role as Bob Ferris in the BBC sitcom – died on Tuesday morning, a representative has said.

Bewes became best known as the character Bob Ferris, from The Likely Lads and Whatever happened to the Likely Lads, starring alongside James Bolam, Brigit Forsyth and Sheila Fearn.

In a statement on Twitter, his agent Michelle Braidman described him as a “true one off”.

She added: “It is with great sadness that we confirm that our dear client, the much loved actor Rodney Bewes, passed away this morning.

“We will miss his charm and ready wit.”

Bewes would have turned 80 next week, his agent said.

The actor spend his early childhood in Bingley before moving with his family to Luton.

One of the last occasions he came back to his roots was in February 2013 when he performed his one man show A Boy Growing Up as a BBC radio man at Bingley Arts Centre.

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Scientist finds UK water companies use ‘magic’ to find leaks

Diving rodsImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption The process of using divining rod has been in use for hundreds of years

Water companies are using divining rods to find underground pipes despite there being no scientific evidence they work, an Oxford University scientist found.

Sally Le Page said her parents were surprised when a technician used two “bent tent pegs” to find a mains pipe.

She contacted all the UK’s water companies, and a majority confirmed engineers still use the centuries-old technique.

However, a number said the equipment was not standard-issue equipment.

The process of using divining rods, also known as dowsing, has been in use for hundreds of years.

‘No evidence’

A dowser will typically hold the rods, usually shaped like the letter Y, while walking over land and being alert for any movement to find water.

Evolutionary biologist Ms Le Page, whose parents live in Stratford-upon-Avon, first contacted Severn Trent Water via Twitter.

It replied: “We’ve found that some of the older methods are just as effective than the new ones, but we do use drones as well, and now satellites.”

Other companies which gave a similar response were:

  • Anglian Water
  • Thames Water
  • Scottish Water
  • Southern Water
  • Welsh Water
  • South West Water
  • United Utilities
  • Yorkshire Water

Ms Le Page said: “I can’t state this enough: there is no scientifically rigorous, doubly blind evidence that divining rods work.

“Isn’t it a bit silly that big companies are still using magic to do their jobs?”

In a statement issued later, Severn Trent said: “We don’t issue divining rods but we believe some of our engineers use them.”

All the companies emphasised they do not encourage the use of divining rods nor issue them to engineers, and said modern methods such as drones and listening devices were preferred.

Northern Ireland Water, Northumbrian Water and Wessex Water said their engineers do not use them.

The Likely Lads actor Rodney Bewes dies

Rodney BewesImage copyright Getty Images

Rodney Bewes has died aged 79, his agent has confirmed.

The actor had a career spanning 60 years and is best known for playing Bob Ferris in sitcom The Likely Lads.

His agent issued a statement saying: “It is with great sadness that we confirm that our dear client, the much loved actor Rodney Bewes, passed away this morning.”

The statement paid tribute to the actor, calling him a “true one off” and a “brilliant story teller”.

“He had a funny anecdote for every occasion. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time. We will miss him terribly.”

Bewes was originally from Bingley in Yorkshire but moved to Luton as a child.

He is survived by his four children: Billy, Joe, Tom and Daisy and his two grandchildren Oscar and Eliza.

Hundreds of criminal cases in the county affected after investigation begins into breach in forensics lab

AROUND 470 criminal cases in West Yorkshire which are relying on forensic evidence are hanging in the balance following a breach in standards at a forensics testing lab.

A joint statement from West Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner updated the public on the status of the police investigation into data manipulation at the Randox Testing Services lab, in Manchester.

It is believed that 10,000 potential cases of date manipulation have been identified.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Battle said: “There are around 470 cases within West Yorkshire, which are affected, mainly relating to road traffic offences.

“Of those around 50 have already been reviewed and there was no change to the criminal justice outcome in 24 of those cases. Thirteen others have been discontinued before a prosecution.

“A further 13, which all relate to drug or drink driving, either have an insufficient sample to complete a retest, or on retesting, show a result under the legal limit, in cases where a defendant had already been convicted.”

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “The seriousness of the situation involving Randox Testing cannot be underestimated.

“As West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, I am working closely with my Chief Constable and West Yorkshire Police to ensure that we are doing everything we can to identify the most serious cases and we stand ready to support anybody potentially affected by this news.

“I know all agencies, including the National Police Chiefs Council, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, and many others are working together to ensure we can maintain and sustain the confidence the public have in our criminal justice system.

“Having a Criminal Justice System that is fair and transparent is paramount and we all need to collectively work together to ensure that remains the case and that we retain faith in our justice process.

“The developments in forensics has transformed the investigation of crime. Now working together we need to ensure essential forensic science work continues but with even stronger safeguards in place to ensure the integrity of data, that impacts on victims, witnesses and those accused of committing crimes, is never compromised.

“Given our investment locally in scientific support in West Yorkshire we are relatively good place but that clearly doesn’t take away from the fact that a small number of individuals at Randox Testing Services have created this extremely challenging situation.

All affected test results will be retested except a small minority where there isn’t a sufficient remaining sample size for retesting. Retesting is being prioritised with live cases and the most serious cases being retested first.

Two men have been arrested over the allegations and five interviewed under caution by Greater Manchester Police.

Reggie Yates apologises for ‘fat Jewish guy’ comment

Reggie Yates
Image caption Yates said he is “deeply sorry” for his comments

BBC star Reggie Yates has apologised for using the phrase “fat Jewish guy” in a recent podcast.

In the interview, he said: “The thing that makes it great about this new generation of (music) artists is that they ain’t signing to majors.

“They’re independent, they’re not managed by some random fat Jewish guy from north west London, they’re managed by their brethren.”

Yates said in a statement: “I’m hugely apologetic for this flippant comment.”

He was speaking to DJ Chuckie Lothian in an episode of Halfcast Podcast, which was recently shared on SoundCloud.

Image caption Reggie Yates presents the Christmas and New Year TOTP specials with Fearne Cotton

Yates’s statement continued: “It was not my intention to offend or reinforce stereotypes, but I’m aware that this could have been interpreted that way and for that I am also deeply sorry.

“What I was actually trying to say was how proud I am of the new generation of artists making their success independently on their own terms and without giving away control or their rights to major labels.”

‘Ugly stereotype’

Following the comments, the DJ and filmmaker has been accused by some of anti-Semitism.

In a post on the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) website, a statement on Yates’s comments read: “Clearly someone who sees fit to voice such views and only apologises when caught out should not be presented by the BBC as a role model for young people.”

Gideon Falter, chairman of the CAA, told the Telegraph that Yates’ comments “evoke the ugly stereotype of Jews as untrustworthy and money-grabbing”.

He added that Yates should “reflect long and hard” on what he had said.

The BBC declined to comment.

Dave Rich of the Community Security Trust, a charity that tackles anti-Semitism, said many people would find Yates’s comments offensive.

“Even worse than any offence is the message Yates gives his audience by reinforcing an anti-Semitic stereotype,” he said.

Yates has presented on Radio 1, was a regular Top of the Pops presenter and a co-host on The Voice UK. He has fronted many BBC documentaries including Gay and Under Attack about homosexuality in Russia and Reggie Yates: Race Riots USA.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

Three men on trial after trouble flared after derby match between Bradford City and Sheffield United

THREE men are on trial at Bradford Crown Court after violence flared between rival football fans at a pub in the city centre.

Chairs and bottles were thrown in The Ginger Goose in Market Street on October 22 last year after a match between Bradford City and Sheffield United, a jury heard.

Jordan Brame, 20, of Parkside Terrace, Cullingworth; Joseph Brett, 26, of Howarth Avenue, Swain House, Bradford, and Milorad Duric, 47, of Fewston Avenue, Clayton Heights, Bradford, all deny affray.

Bradford Crown Court was told that others in the pub that night had admitted their roles in the disorder.

Prosecutor James Gelsthorpe said it was alleged that the three men on trial were all involved in the fight which broke out at 8pm following the afternoon football game.

CCTV played in court showed what each of the defendants did in the pub, Mr Gelsthorpe said.

He alleged that Brame was bouncing around on his toes like a boxer and was clearly seen to throw a punch at a male moving away from him.

Duric’s body language showed him to be kicking out at someone on the floor, the jury was told.

Brett could be seen throwing a bottle. He claimed he was acting in reasonable self defence, Mr Gelsthorpe said.

He added: “There are a great many more people involved in the incident than these three in the dock.”

The jury was told that violence erupted after two men from Sheffield were arguing with two other males.

Jamie Hayes, deputy manager of The Ginger Goose, said in a statement read to the court that 15 men then came into the pub and surrounded the two Sheffield men at the bar and told them to leave.

The group was aggressive and going to cause trouble, Mr Hayes said. He alerted his door staff to keep an eye on things.

One man from Sheffield then butted a Bradford man and disorder broke out in which the Sheffield men were punched and kicked.

Chairs were thrown and staff at the bar had to duck to avoid a flying bottle.

Mr Hayes said it was “pure luck” that none of his employees were injured.

Customers in the pub were scared and left.

Mr Gelsthorpe said of the disorder: “It was linked to football and the animosity between rival sets of fans.”

The trial continues.

Council land pulled from auction after planning permission setback

COUNCIL-owned green fields in Cleckheaton have been pulled out of an auction due to difficulties in gaining outline planning permission for the site.

Kirklees Council took the decision to withdraw the 1.68 hectare site off Kenmore Drive from the auction last week, after a planning committee failed to reach a decision on its plans.

The controversial plan to build 55 homes had attracted more than 100 letters of objection, with many of the concerns around an unsuitable access route due to on street parking.

The authority’s highways department had concerns about extending the cul-de-sac as existing on-street parking could create issues with highway safety.

In response the Council submitted amended plans to try and address the highways issues, with two points of access to a new housing estate – on Kenmore Drive and Kenmore View – rather than one.

As a result the plans were recommended for approval at a meeting earlier this month. The land was also scheduled to be sold at auction last week with a guide price of £1.25 million.

But at the Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee meeting, members deferred a decision calling for the authority to provide further information on some issues.

Now it has confirmed that a decision is expected next month and following that options for the site will be reviewed.

Councillor Kath Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) told the Telegraph & Argus: “The big issue for me is that it’s a Council-owned site and the Council knows there is a big shortage in the area for extra care homes, offering independent living for the elderly.

“The Council could use the site to fill that gap and at the same time it would mean fewer car movements, particularly at peak times, than the proposals.

“I think people would be more accepting of something that is of social value.”

A Council spokesman said: “The Council withdrew the site at Kenmore Drive from auction as further information was requested by the planning committee meeting which was considering the planning application for the site.

“This information will be provided to the December planning committee meeting.

“Once the planning position has been determined, options for the site will be reconsidered.”

The land has been owned by the Council for a number of years and had at one point been earmarked for a new school.

For the last two decades it has been allocated for housing.

Following the amendments, a planner’s report stated: “Following concerns being raised relating to matters of access and highways safety, the application was revised from single point of access to show two points of access via Kenmore Drive and Kenmore View.

“The revised details were accompanied by an additional highway statement with responses to concerns raised.”

‘Cruel and evil’ widower groomed and raped girl, 15

AN ‘EVIL and cruel’ pervert who groomed a vulnerable 15-year-old girl before repeatedly raping her has been jailed for 11 years.

Pornography addict Paul Hayton, 59, plied the child with money, cigarettes and alcohol to sexually abuse her over a three year period, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Hayton, of Allerby Green, Woodside, Bradford, was labelled a danger to girls by Recorder John Thackray, who said the former soldier was willing to take risks to engage in deviant behaviour.

Hayton was convicted by a jury in September of three offences of rape, three counts of sexual activity with a child and a charge of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

While he was remanded in custody awaiting sentence, his probation officer assessed that he posed a danger to the public.

Hayton’s victim said in a statement, read out to the packed courtroom: “Words cannot describe what you have done to me. Because of you I am broken inside and out.

“You are like a constant nightmare that never goes away and will never stop torturing me.”

The young woman said she felt ugly and worthless. She had considered suicide, self-harmed and turned to alcohol to try to get Hayton out of her head.

“He is an evil, cruel, perverted man,” she stated.

In mitigation, Hayton’s barrister Stephen Uttley said his client was a self-confessed porn addict but he was a hardworking man who had served in the Army and he had no previous convictions.

Recorder Thackray said Hayton planned to abuse the girl, touching her bottom.

When she was afraid to tell her parents, he groomed her with money, cigarettes and alcohol and watched pornography in her presence.

Hayton, a widower, targeted the vulnerable teenager, who was 15 when he first raped her, the court was told.

Addressing Hayton, Recorder Thackray said: “She was a child and she made it clear that your advances were completely and utterly unwanted.”

Recorder Thackray said the complainant had suffered severe psychological harm, battling depression and anxiety, thinking of suicide and self-harming and turning to alcohol.

He told Hayton: “Your offending has had a profound effect on her and it will continue for the rest of her life.”

Hayton was given a 14-year extended prison sentence made up of 11 years in jail and three years on extended licence.

He must serve at least two thirds of the 11 years behind bars and he will not be freed until the end of the prison term unless the Parole Board decides it is safe to release him earlier.

He must sign on the sex offender register for life and the judge made an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Hayton, who wore a red casual jacket for the court hearing, sat impassively in the dock throughout the proceedings.

After the case, an NSPCC spokesman said: “Hayton’s crimes against his young victim are utterly despicable and his behaviour is a sadly all-too-familiar example of the way groomers target vulnerable children.

“His victim has shown incredible courage in speaking out and this case shows that victims can come forward with the confidence they will be listened to.

“We want every child to be able to spot exploitation for what it is and, if they find themselves in danger, know that it is categorically not their fault.

“Anyone with concerns about a child can call the NSPCC Helpline 24/7 in confidence on 0808 800 5000, children who need help can call Childline on 0800 1111.”

Gaia Pope struggled with health before her death, father says

Gaia PopeImage copyright PA
Image caption Gaia Pope’s body was found 11 days after she went missing

Teenager Gaia Pope had “struggled” with health issues before her death, her father has said.

Police are treating the 19-year-old’s death as “unexplained” after her body was found in a field near Swanage on Saturday.

Her father Richard Sutherland, said his daughter had had “a lot of issues” and “clearly just couldn’t cope with that.”

Three people who were arrested on suspicion of her murder will face no further action, police said earlier.

Paul Elsey, 49, his mother Rosemary Dinch, 71, and her 19-year-old grandson, Nathan Elsey, were all questioned about Ms Pope’s disappearance.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Miss Pope’s body was found close to where items of her clothing were discovered two days earlier

Her body was found 11 days after she was reported missing in Swanage, on 7 November.

A post-mortem examination did not identify any injuries to suggest the involvement of other people, Dorset Police said.

The force is awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

Paul’s father, Greg Elsey, said Ms Pope was clearly “on the verge of a nervous breakdown” when she visited Mrs Dinch in an agitated state on the day she disappeared.

He said her health problems included a previous breakdown as well as epilepsy.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionGaia Pope’s family give statement

In a statement, Ms Pope’s mother Natasha described her daughter as “a light that will radiate for all eternity”.

“A wise, magnificent soul that burns far too bright for this world,” she said.

“Her spirit overflows with love and compassion for others. Gaia our free spirit, our wild pony.”

‘Very vulnerable’

Mr Sutherland thanked the emergency services and members of the public who joined searches for his daughter.

He said his daughter had “happy moments… right up into the end of her life“, despite her health problems.

Her cousin Marienna Pope-Weidemann said Ms Pope had been “very, very vulnerable, but such an inspiration”.

She said she was determined that “lessons will be learned” from Ms Pope’s death.

Visibly upset, she said: “It should not have taken 11 days to find her so close and we need to know why.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Gaia Pope’s father Richard Sutherland thanked members of the public before a community search on Saturday

Following her disappearance, searches by police, the coastguard and police helicopter – along with hundreds of volunteers – were carried out in the Swanage area.

On Thursday, police discovered clothing belonging to Ms Pope on open land outside the town.

Her body was found two days later in the same area.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Search and rescue teams scoured the open space above the cliffs near Swanage

Egypt drugs case: Briton Laura Plummer’s sister issues apology

Laura PlummerImage copyright Plummer family
Image caption Laura Plummer is in police custody in the resort of Hurghada

The sister of a British woman facing drug smuggling charges in Egypt has apologised to the country’s officials.

Laura Plummer, 33, faces a trial accused of entering the country with 300 Tramadol tablets, a painkiller legal in the UK but not in Egypt.

She is in police custody in Hurghada awaiting a hearing date.

Her sister Rachel told officials she had “unintentionally done wrong” and apologised for “bringing such trouble to your country”.

It is not clear whether the apology has been seen by the authorities, who have not commented.

But in response to the apology, Ms Plummer’s MP Karl Turner, described her as a “decent, law-abiding” citizen who had “done something really silly”.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Laura Plummer said the prescription pills were for her partner Omar Caboo

Ms Plummer, a shop assistant from Hull, claims she was carrying the pills for her Egyptian partner, Omar Caboo, who suffers from back pain.

She has been held in a cell, which she has to share with 25 other women.

Image copyright Rachel Plummer
Image caption Rachel Plummer said her sister had carried out “a totally innocent action”

In a statement, Rachel said she “would like to place on record our gratitude for the fairness and just manner the Egyptian justice system has shown towards Laura”.

“We realise Laura has unintentionally done wrong in the eyes of the Egyptian authorities; a totally innocent action that has resulted in her being held in custody by the police in Hurghada,” she said.

“Laura, along with all of us, loves Egypt and upon visits to see Laura we have been happy with the professional and fair way the police officers have been with Laura and we would like to apologise for bringing such trouble to your country.”

Ms Plummer’s father Neville and her other sister, Jane, said the statement was not issued on their behalf and have made no further comment.

Image copyright Rachel Plummer
Image caption Laura Plummer said she had “no idea” the painkillers she was carrying were banned in the country

He said he met Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson last week and was reassured “the government is doing all it can” to support Laura and her family. The UK Foreign Office has not publicly commented.

Ms Plummer said earlier this month she had “no idea” the painkillers she was carrying were banned in the country.

But local police said ignorance of the law was no excuse.

Tramadol is the most abused drug in Egypt, according to Ghada Wali, the country’s Minister of Social Solidarity.

Drug smuggling can carry the death sentence in Egypt.