This looks great….


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Manchester attack was “beyond words”

Assistant Chief Constable Alex Murray responds to last night’s attack:

We remain deeply shocked following last night’s tragic incident in Manchester and all our thoughts are with those affected.

We have provided some support to Greater Manchester Police to assist in the policing of the incident in the early stages.

Greater Manchester Police continue with their investigation − at this stage there are no known links between the perpetrator and the West Midlands. We continue to liaise with GMP to establish if there are any victims from our area.

Here in the West Midlands, our focus is on providing an appropriate policing response over the coming days.

We have a variety of tactics available to us on a 24/7 basis − we have teams of local neighbourhood officers, response officers, specialist firearms officers and traffic officers on duty around the clock.

Looking forward to the weekend, Birmingham plays host to Pride which is a large lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender event and we’re expecting tens of thousands of visitors to the city. This is an annual event with a parade, music and festivities which is enjoyed by many.

I appreciate that people planning to attend may feel a sense of nervousness − I would like to take this opportunity to give you some reassurance that a full policing operation is in place and is subject to ongoing reviews.

We will have a large number of police officers, specials and police staff on hand to keep the public safe − this isn’t only for the Pride event, but also for anyone visiting the city to enjoy all it has to offer.

I must stress that the threat level nationally remains severe meaning an attack is highly likely. Tragic events like last night’s explosion in Manchester remind us that attacks can occur at any time or place without warning.

Everyone needs to be vigilant − be alert not alarmed. As ever, we ask the public to be our eyes and ears. If something doesn’t feel right, call us. We act on every piece of information, no click or call will be ignored, we will only take action after appropriate checks have been carried out.

As we saw last night, terrorists wait for those moments when we’re not looking − that’s why vigilance and awareness of everyone is key to combatting terrorism.

There are many ways you can report − through local police on 101 or in an emergency 999, via the Anti Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 and online you can click on the red button on the West Midlands Police website to report online terrorist and extremist material.

Locally our West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit continues to work with national security services to keep our region safe. This includes playing a key role in stopping people getting drawn into terrorism and violent extremism in all forms.

It is really important for us all to remember that acts of terrorism and hate crimes are committed by a small minority of people and those people do not represent the public. This is a time for us all to work closely together and unite against those who seek, through violence and extremism, to intimidate or cause fear.

Chief Constable Dave Thompson added:

Last night’s events in Manchester are simply beyond words. It took place in a city and a venue I know well and have many happy memories of.

The response of the emergency services and specifically colleagues at Great Manchester Police has been exemplary as has the community who have rallied around. As the casualty list becomes public it will be simply unbearable. It is an attack on families, children and young people.

We will support Greater Manchester Police in any way we can across the next days, weeks and months.

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Bearwood Burning

After a dreadful day of rain, Simon Lea took this stunning picture of the spectacular sunset over Warley Woods. Hey, babe, the sky's on fire….


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Car thief jailed

West Midlands police have issued this statement about the jailing of a car thief which contains a warning for anyone considering selling a vehicle from their home:

Nine years jail for test drive car robber

A man who posed as a prospective car buyer to steal vehicles during test drives − leaving some owners injured in the road after they clung desperately to the car − has been jailed for nine years following a West Midlands Police investigation.

Adam Bodycote, from Beech Road in Wednesbury, targeted motorists who’d listed cars with online sales sites including eBay and Gumtree.

He struck 12 times between 5 December last year and 8 February at addresses in the Black Country and used a range of tactics to distract sellers before speeding away in cars including BMWs, Mercedes and Audis.

During one car robbery in Moat Road, Oldbury, on 22 January 28-year-old Bodycote dragged the victim for several metres as he held onto the door frame; he narrowly missed a lamppost before being flung onto a grass verge.

Labourer Bodycote was identified when he inadvertently linked his own WhatsApp account to the phone number he used to communicate with his victims − and from which detectives seized his photograph.

Bodycote was listed as wanted on national police systems and went on the run as West Midlands Police carried out several warrants at addresses linked to him; he was eventually found hiding back at his home address on 16 February after specialist entry officers smashed down the front door.

And at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Thursday (May 11) he admitted seven car thefts, three robberies, petrol theft and driving while disqualified.

Detective Tom Finney, from West Bromwich Investigation Team, said: “Bodycote used a range tactics to manufacture opportunities to be left alone inside the cars: getting owners to pop the bonnet while he revved the engine or asking them to get documentation from the house − and when the opportunity arose he sped off.

“But on some occasions, when sellers became suspicious, he used violence to snatch the keys.

“He admitted his guilt after seeing the mountain of evidence we had against him and was jailed; we hope that this will offer justice for his victims.”

And Det Con Finney advised people to take safety precautions when using online sales sites.

He added: “Such sites encourage sellers to meet prospective buyers in a public place in daylight.

“Obtain as much information as possible about the interested buyer − and always make sure you are not alone when the person visits. Arrange to have someone with you, a friend, relative or neighbour.”

List of offences:

• 5 December 2016, Heather Road, Smethwick − stole Vauxhall Astra

• 13 December, Mace Street, Cradley Heath – stole Audi A3

• 28 December, Priestley Road, Walsall – stole Black BMW 3 series

• 31 December 2016, Cakemore Road, Blackheath − stole BMW 5 series

• 2 January, D’urberville Road, Walsall − stole Black Vauxhall Astra

• 10 January, Drayton Street, Walsall − stole Mercedes C220

• 18 January, Prospect Row, Dudley – stole Silver BMW 5 series

• 22 January, Moat Road, Oldbury – stole Grey BMW 1 series

• 26 January, Lyttleton Street, West Bromwich – stole Silver Audi Q7

• 2 February, Milton Street, Walsall − stole Black Audi TT Quattro

• 3 February, Stonehurst Road, Walsall − stole Black Volvo C30 Sport

• 8 February, Mission Close, Blackheath – stole Black Ford Focus ST

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Vintage in the Park

Two new vintage fairs in Lightwoods Park…


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Plants in the Shakespeare Garden

Leigh Pipkin on the Bearwood Facebook page helpfully suggested using a google search to find details of the plants in the Shakespeare Garden in Lightwoods Park….and this is what I found!


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The Shakespeare Garden

With the work coming to an end inside Lightwoods House, attention is moving to the restoration of the Shakespeare Garden….


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