impression of the Metro
An ambitious 300 million plan to equip the West Midlands with the
Metro "supertram" - vaunted as the most up to date public transport
system in Europe - was given the green light in June.
The system was to be based on a modern version of the old trams.
It won overwhelming backing from the county council's Labour rulers
following a three hour private meeting.
And county transport chiefs began a race against time in a bid
to get the futuristic scheme off the drawing board before the county
council system was dismantled.
The supertram was pencilled in to start in 1986 - the year the
council was to disappear - and detailed design work was scheduled
to get underway in 1984.
The plan took two years to assemble at a cost of 100,0000 with
experts studying a dozen traffic "corridors" with Birmingham at
The "corridors" included West Bromwich, Sutton Coldfield, Kingstanding
and Chelmsley Wood in the first phase of the plan.
The go-ahead was a personal triumph for Wolverhampton councillor,
Phil Bateman, the left- wing chairman of the council's public transport
He had spent nearly an hour selling the system to the Labour group.
But in the event, the Midland Metro was not to come on track for
another 15 years - in 1999 when it began running between Birmingham
Police tight lipped over probe: A "hush-hush" police investigation
involving several West Midlands detectives was completed in April
with no recommendations for criminal actions.
The probe was carried out by senior officers from the Avon and
Somerset force and was launched the previous year following a tip-off.
But West Midlands police were keeping tight-lipped over what the
investigation was about or how many people were involved.
A spokesman said no criminal offence had been disclosed and therefore
the papers in the inquiry had not been sent to the Director of Public
But he added that although criminal action had been ruled out,
officers may still face internal discipline.
During the five-month inquiry investigations were based at police
headquarters in Birmingham.
Traders seek help against raiders: Desperate Wolverhampton
traders demanded police protection against mobs of youths plundering
town stores in highly organised shoplifting raids in April. Staff
said they could only watch helplessly as the 30-strong gang looted
clothes and electrical goods. The gang swooped on the town at weekend
peak shopping times.
Police break up gang of swindlers: Police posing as delivery
men broke up a gang of swindlers who netted nearly 4,000 worth of
goods from television rental companies in June.
The gang used false names and addresses and obtained video recorders
and televisions on hire, which they immediately sold, Birmingham
crown court was told.
Police, posing as delivery men, delivered goods to one of the
When she used a false name she was arrested along with the others.
All the defendants were jailed for handling or deception offences.
Rocking away down at the club:
Martin (left) and Eddie Hicks get hip to the beat . . . or something
The music of the fifties and sixties popped back into fashion
with pop-pickin' players at Wolverhampton bowling club in June as
a red and purple jukebox churned out the songs of yesteryear. The
music machine also raised a few eyebrows at Penn Bowling Club -
for never in its 72 years had the club ever allowed pop music to
be played. That was before showman, Eddie Hicks, arrived with his
jukebox. Then the regulars decided they wouldn't dream of being
without the jukebox which got their feet tapping with its renderings.
One member, Tom Martin, aged 61, was an avid fan and headed for
the machine every lunchtime and evening. Eddie, aged 44, from Wednesfield,
had a collection of 17,000 fifties and sixties tunes and changed
the records on the jukebox every fortnight.
Ambushed! A solicitor ran through Wolverhampton town centre
covered in blood after a knifeman slashed open his right hand.
Howard's thumb and palm were ripped open as he tried to fight off
the attackers who pounced on him in Cheapside in August, grabbing
his briefcase. The assault left him with severed tendons and nerves.
Shoppers watched in horror as 32-year-old Mr Howard ran by, spurting
blood and yelling for help.
Moments before Mr Howard had called at a town centre bank to exchange
£160 in travellers cheques after a family holiday. His attackers
ambushed him nearby and Mr Howard, of Jesson Road, Walsall, put
up a fierce battle to hang on to his briefcase.
"One of them started kicking me kung-fu style about the body,"
said Mr Howard from his hospital bed.
"There was a sharp, stabbing pain in my hand and I let go. I ran
all the way to Red Lion Street police station spurting blood. I
kept shouting for help but people just stood and watched me." He