from BBC News for Staffordshire

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Robbie Williams will play a one-off charity show in his hometown of Stoke-on-Trent, next June.It will be the first time he’ll have played at the city’s Vale Park stadium, despite growing up nearby.The pop star has just released his first Christmas album, with some of the songs written with friends in Stoke.He’s also co-written the songs for the new musical adaption of David Walliams’ book The Boy in the Dress.

A union has held protests outside Amazon warehouses to coincide with the Black Friday sales.GMB members gathered in Sheffield, Rugeley and Peterborough. Amazon said no workers had been involved in the protests. The union said the protests came after “more than 600 ambulance call-outs” to Amazon warehouses in three years.Amazon said “self-interested critics, particularly unions” had “a vested interest in spreading misinformation”.Amazon said the protests involved “a total of 30 external, pro-union people” at a small number of its 50 UK sites.The action came as protesters in France and Germany also targeted the firm.Mick Rix, GMB national officer, said they wanted Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, 55, “to know they are people – not robots”. “It’s about time Mr Bezos showed empathy with the very people that have helped build his vast empire and make sure it is not a Black Friday for Amazon workers.”GMB said its members had described Amazon’s targets as “so horrific” they had to use plastic bottles to urinate in instead of going to the toilet, with pregnant women forced to stand for hours on end.It claimed at least one woman had reported losing a pregnancy at work, but no ambulance was called and she had to go home on the bus with her co-workers in blood-stained clothesEarlier this year, Amazon started offering public tours of its warehouses so members could “come and see for yourself” what conditions were like.An Amazon spokesperson said: “Self-interested critics, particularly unions, have a vested interest in spreading misinformation about Amazon but the facts tell a different story.”The truth is that Amazon already offers industry-leading pay, starting at £9.50 an hour, comprehensive benefits, as well as a safe, modern work environment.”These groups are conjuring misinformation to work in their favour, when in fact we already offer the things they claim to be fighting for.”You don’t have to take our word for it – or theirs. Come and see for yourself by registering for a tour at one of our fulfilment centres.”GMB protesters are planning further action outside Amazon’s London headquarters on 2 December to coincide with Cyber Monday.

A car-jacking gang that carried out a series of robberies re-stole a vehicle that was being transported after police recovered it, prosecutors said. Three men were involved in serious offences across the West Midlands between October and December 2018, with a fourth also playing a part.The case against them was settled at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday after a series of admissions and guilty verdicts.They will be sentenced at a later date.The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the masked gang attacked or threatened motorists returning to parked cars usually in busy shopping centres and railway stations, “often” using imitation firearms.They struck in the West Midlands, Warwickshire and Staffordshire police areas.On one occasion, the CPS said, some gang members re-stole a car that had been recovered by the police and was being transported; kidnapping the recovery driver for a short time.The CPS’ David Rouse said: “This was nothing less than an organised crime gang who were brazen, violent and systematic.”Many of the victims were badly affected and traumatised by what had happened.”Latest news from the West MidlandsIn Thursday’s conclusion of the trial at Birmingham Crown Court:Paul Joseph Doyle, 41, was found guilty of robbery; conspiracy to rob; conspiracy to possess an imitation firearm intending to rob; possession of an imitation firearm intending to cause fear of violence; and kidnapping. He had admitted conspiracy to steal. Joshua Barrett, 22, was found guilty of robbery; conspiracy to rob; conspiracy to possess an imitation firearm intending to rob; possession of an imitation firearm intending to cause fear of violence; and conspiracy to steal. He had admitted conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to rob.Luke Mander, 22, was found guilty of robbery; kidnapping; and conspiracy to possess an imitation firearm intending to rob.Keir Carter, 18, admitted conspiracy to steal and possession of a class b drug.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.

Thousands of shoppers have descended on a warehouse in Cannock looking for Black Friday bargains with high street names selling stock for as little as 50p.The event, at a 10,000 sqft warehouse, was organised by Newlife, the charity for disabled children. It’s hoping to raise £100,000.The unwanted stock was donated free by 200 fashion chains.

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Two people held over the death of a seven-week-old boy have been released on bail.Staffordshire Police said the baby suffered a cardiac arrest at a property in Derwent Street, Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent, at 21:00 GMT, on Tuesday.His death hours later in hospital was being treated as “unexplained,” the force said.A 49-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman, arrested on suspicion of murder, have been released under investigation.Police said a post-mortem examination results proved inconclusive, with further tests required.An investigation surrounding the circumstances of the boy’s death continues.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a seven-week-old boy.Police were called to a report of a baby in cardiac arrest by paramedics at a property in Derwent Street, Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent, on Tuesday.Emergency services attended just before 21:00 GMT but he died in hospital a few hours later. His death is being treated as “unexplained,” police said.A 49-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman are in custody.A post-mortem examination is due to take place. Police said inquiries surrounding the circumstances of his death are continuing.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.

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With days of rain and extensive floods, the autumn of 2019 seems to have been much wetter than normal. Has it though?Villagers in Fishlake near Doncaster were forced to flee their homes after the river Don and Ea Beck both burst their banks.The former High Sheriff of Derbyshire died after being swept away by swollen waters.A farmer in Lincolnshire says he fears more future flooding after more than 1,000 acres of fields were swamped.The weather this autumn, which meteorologically speaking runs from September until November, has been making the headlines.Watnall near Nottingham, Sheffield in South Yorkshire and Scampton and Coningsby in Lincolnshire have all had their wettest autumns on record and are on course for their wettest ever Novembers.Watnall has had 367.8mm of rainfall since the start of September and until 06:00 on 27 November, beating the record of 339.6mm in 2000.Scampton saw 303.2mm compared with 1993’s 271.7mm while Coningsby had 341.6mm compared with 284.8mm in 2000.Furthermore, the average autumn rainfall in Lincolnshire is about 163mm and the annual rainfall is 613mm, so they have had double the seasonal average and about half of their expected annual rainfall in just three months.Sheffield had 456mm of rain beating its record from 2000 of 425.2mm.But while there have been some dramatic weather events locally, nationally the record has been a long way from being broken.This autumn is currently ranked as the 24th wettest on record for England and Wales with 372.1mm falling on average across the two nations.The record was set in 2000 when 502.7mm was recorded.As a single month, this November has been rather wet and by 17 November, England had seen 90% of its average rainfall for the month according the Met Office.
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Other counties to have had more than their November average by 17 November included Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Rutland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. England as a whole has had a mean temperature of 5.3C between 1 and 17 November, 0.9C cooler than the period’s average temperature.

A young farmer has said he hopes the next government can help promote the role of technology in the sector.Will Roobottom, from Staffordshire Young Farmers, is in the final year of a farming business degree course at Harper Adams University in Shropshire.The 23-year-old, who lives near Rugeley in Staffordshire, has a flock of 160 pedigree Lleyn sheep and believes better access to modern technology will enable young farmers like himself to sustain a working career in the industry.Video journalist: John Bray

A teddy bear that was said to have been present during World War Two battles is set to go under the hammer.The bear was a gift to 76-year-old Tom Matthews, from Stafford, from his father after the war.His father received it from a Dutch woman after he was stationed in her village which had been “stripped bare” by the German forces in 1944.Mr Matthews was told how the bear was present at the D-Day landings and was used by his father as a pillow.”Dad took part in the D-Day landings,” he said, “and the bear was part of his war story.”The bear also crossed the Rhine, came under shell fire and took part in the Allies’ victory parade in Berlin, sitting on dad’s lap.”Mr Matthews and his wife, Mo, have no children and no one to leave the bear to, and it has spent the past 40 years in their loft.”I’d hate him to end up in a skip during house clearance because someone thinks he’s just a scruffy old bear,” he said.”He’s seen and done a lot of things – more than most people.” The bear is expected to fetch up to £600 when it goes up for auction at Hansons Auctioneers in London on 9 December.Owner Charles Hanson said he was “honoured” to sell the toy, adding: “I’ve never heard such an amazing story connected to a humble teddy bear”.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.


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