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Summary

  1. Updates on 24 February 2015
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Morris

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Thank you for reading!

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

That's all from BBC Local Live in Devon & Cornwall for today, we'll be back at 08:00 to bring you all the day's news, sport, travel and weather updates.

Don't miss BBC Spotlight at 18:30 and the late bulletin at 22:30 tonight. Cheers all.

News on the hour

The top stories at 1800 include

BBC Radio Cornwall:

Cornwall's hospitals remain on black alert, the highest level the NHS has, but NHS Kernow says things are getting better.

BBC Radio Devon:

A Devon MP says politicians shouldn't be barred from having second jobs - despite the latest "cash for access" scandal.

RD&E on black alert

The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital has just escalated its status from red to black, the highest level the NHS has.

The alert indicates a hospital has officially confirmed its services are overwhelmed by demand.

Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and the Royal Cornwall Hospital

are also on black alert.

Bed closure fears

Concern about possible hospital bed closures in Ilfracombe and South Molton have been raised by North Devon Liberal Democrat MP Sir Nick Harvey.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he understood the concerns and it was "absolutely essential" that NHS managers maintained enough beds to deal with pressure during the winter.

Howard on song for Eden

Ben Howard's West Country fans will be delighted after it was confirmed he is headlining the

Eden Sessions on 17 July.

Ben Howard
BBC

Howard, who grew up near Totnes in Devon, released his second studio album I Forget Where We Were in October last year.

Cash drive for charities

Charities are to benefit from thousands of pounds overpaid to parking meters in Devon.

Bideford car park
Google

Torridge District Council unanimously approved giving away the estimated £40,000 it gets every year from overpayments.

The machines at its 22 car parks do not give change so many people overpay.

Minister to visit 'black alert' hospital

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

Health Minister Dan Poulter MP is visiting the Royal Cornwall Hospital tomorrow to "discuss the current challenges the trust is coping with".

Sarah Newton MP
BBC

Sarah Newton, Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth announced the visit and said she would be meeting with the chief executive "to discuss what more can be done to support the RCHT during this challenging time".

Harbour repairs - dramatic pix

West Briton

Newspaper

Some powerful pictures of repairs to storm-damaged Mullion harbour in the

West Briton.

Mullion
West Briton

The cove, owned by the National Trust, was extensively damaged last year, and contractors have been brought in to repair both piers in the harbour.

Get a bit on the slide!

Here's a chance to have fun and raise money for the

RNLI with a chance to take a 100m ride on a water slide in Plymouth.

Slide
Chris Russell

The slide will be coming to North Cross roundabout on 28 March.

Anyone interested to be in with a chance of sliding should text SLIDE followed by their first name and last name to 88010 before midnight on 18 March. Texts cost £1.50.

The 360 lucky winners will get the chance to have a go in front of their friends and families.

News on the hour

The top stories at 1700 include

BBC Radio Cornwall:

A search is under way around Stithians Lake for a man who police say they're concerned about.

BBC Radio Devon:

Teenage pregnancies in the South West have dropped to a record low according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Cost of cancelled ops

BBC Spotlight

What's it like to be among the hundreds of people who have had

operations cancelled at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth?

Operation
BBC

Matthew Beadnall, 23, from Torpoint has been waiting five months for an operation to cure abdominal pains he told

BBC Spotlight.

An appointment was due on 2 February but it was cancelled four days before.

He is hoping another due on Monday will not be cancelled.

Gruesome discovery

Exeter Express and Echo

Police in East Devon are urging the public to report sightings of possible poaching after a dog walker found three dismembered deer legs in an East Devon beauty spot yesterday morning, the

Express and Echo reports.

Deer legs
Express and Echo

Sue Cade, from Buckerell near Honiton, made the gruesome discovery at a secluded area popular with walkers between the villages of Broadhembury and Dunkeswell, a few miles from Honiton.

Whale spotting off Scilly

Julie Skentelbery

Presenter, BBC Radio Cornwall

Two beach walkers on the Isles of Scilly say they were left 'utterly dumbfounded' after spotting a young whale off St Martin's.

whale
Anna Cawthray

Anna Cawthray and Fay Page were walking on Par Beach when they spotted the creature, it's not known what species it was but they reckon it was about 25ft long. Hear the full story

on BBC Radio Cornwall after 17:00.

Hitlers Walk row reignites

There's been a new twist in the saga over a sign for a park in Mevagissey, the

Cornish Guardian reports.

Sign
Cornish Guardian

The parish council put the plans to reinstate the Hitlers Walk sign on hold after protests.

Now a document has revealed that Cornwall Council contractor, Cormac, had already refused a request to reinstate the sign.

Get involved

Waves of about 15ft high are expected along the South West coast according to forecaster

Magic Seaweed.

Trevaunance
Carrian Jones

Trevaunance Cove was getting the first taste of the swell this morning in this

Vine from Carrian Jones.

And you can hear from big wave surfer Andrew Cotton on the Simon Bates show on

Radio Devon tomorrow morning.

Welcome for Pirates

Brent Pilnick

BBC South West Sport

Truro City chairman Peter Masters says the Cornish Pirates are welcome to

share his planned new stadium.

The Pirates, along with Truro and Penwith College, are hoping to build a stadium of their own.

The stadium would be close to the Silver Bow site of City's planned site.

"If people want to come and join our party, which is already funded, i.e. the college or even the Pirates, there's an open invitation there," Masters told

BBC Radio Cornwall.

News on the hour

The top stories at 1600 include

BBC Radio Cornwall:

Cornwall's hospitals will remain on black alert despite improvements at Treliske in Truro, St Michael's in Hayle and West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance says NHS Kernow.

BBC Radio Devon:

A former Royal Marine from Tiverton has admitted fraudulently claiming almost £50,000 in disability benefits.

Police helicopter at Stithians

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

There are reports of the police helicopter and five or six police vehicles in the area around Stithians lake.

Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed officers are in the area following concerns for a missing man.

Match off

Brent Pilnick

BBC South West Sport

Torquay United's match with Lincoln City this evening in the Conference Premier

has been called off.

Plainmoor is waterlogged after recent heavy rain. No new date for the game has been set yet.

Redruth rugby 'on right road'

BBC Sport

Veteran Redruth forward Damien Cook

says "things are coming together" under head coach Steve Larkins.

redruth
Dan Barbary/Redruth RFC

After years of debt and turbulence in the dugout, this season Redruth are firmly embedded in mid-table in National Two South, having won 10 of their 12 home games.

Tourism hope

BBC Spotlight

Tourism businesses in the South West are pinning their hopes on a multi-million pound marketing campaign aimed at attracting more high spending international visitors.

Canal
BBC

The £10m overseas investment by Visit Britain comes at a time when many tourist attractions in the region are reporting a fall in home grown visitor numbers at a time of cuts in budgets.

Cornwall's care crisis 'improving'

BBC Radio Cornwall

No elective operations have been cancelled in Cornwall today as NHS managers say the crisis in the county's health and care system is improving.

nhs
BBC

Cornwall remains in 'black alert' status, as is

Plymouth's Derriford Hospital.

Dr Iain Chorlton from NHS Kernow said: "Some of the steps we have taken to reduce pressure include increasing the number of clinicians working in and supporting the emergency department".

News on the hour

The top stories at 15:00 include

BBC Radio Cornwall: Its emerged that hundreds of operations are
being cancelled every month because of the newly declared black alert status at Derriford hospital.

BBC Radio Devon: Bosses at Devon's biggest hospital have denied trying to cover up the pressures facing its services.

More rain later

Kevin Thomas

BBC Weather Forecaster

After a sunnier middle of the day, cloud and further scattered showers will arrive from the west later. Strong north westerly winds will ease and also back to the west.

weather pm
BBC

Although

most places will start the night dry, cloud will continue to increase with rain reaching the far west before midnight and then spreading further eastwards. Moderate or fresh south westerly winds will veer to the west and become strong at times.

Derriford - your views

via Facebook

The situation at

Derriford Hospital in Plymouth has drawn plenty of comments on the Facebook pages of
BBC Radio Cornwall and
BBC Radio Devon.

Andy Everson said: A sad indictment of our country and the way it's run. The rich get richer and the rest of us struggle. This should not be happening to OUR NHS. Yes OUR NHS, we pay for it, we own it and THEY, the government decide on its funding and it's regulations.

Jackie Chown says: It is ridiculous that they are shutting down beds because they are taking in flu patients. They should have a separate rest home/small hospital where infectious illnesses such as flu are taken. To let flu cause so much disruption in this day and age is appalling bad management!

Carol Mattocks from Devon comments: My brother was airlifted into Derriford a while ago. I brought him home early because they had patients queuing in A&E. We have hospitals second to none in the world with understaffing problems.

Weather hits ferries

Brittany Ferries

tweets: UPDATE | We're sorry sailings on our Plymouth-Roscoff routes have been disrupted by bad weather this week.

Read more about

the impacts on sailings here.

Star Wars man's legacy

Brent Pilnick

BBC South West Sport

What links X-Wing pilots, Storm Troopers, and Lando Calrissian's trusted co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon, Nien Nunb with a fencing club in Cornwall?

The answer is Richard Bonehill, the Truro Fencing Club's late former coach and one of a team of extras who filled numerous roles on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Richard Bonehill
BBC

Find out how Bonehill, who passed away earlier this month, built the Truro club to become one of the best in the country.

Teen mum figures

BBC Spotlight

Teenage pregnancies in the South West have dropped to a record low - official figures show that in 2013 there were 1,948 conceptions among girls under the age of 18, the lowest figure since 1998.

mum
BBC

Lea Kearns from Exeter is 17-years-old and has two children, she's launched a campaign to tackle the stigma she says still exists around teenage pregnancy. There'll be more

on BBC Spotlight tonight at 18:30.

Grant joy for Exeter Phoenix

Matt Pengelly

Local Live

Staff and volunteers at

Exeter Phoenix are celebrating after winning a grant of £320,745 to revamp the building's facilities and improve digital resources.

phoenix
Exeter Phoenix

There's delight in west Cornwall too as

Newlyn Art Gallery & Exchange has attracted £107,638 from Arts Council England's
small scale Capital funding scheme.

High waters

BBC Spotlight

There's a quite a big swell around the coasts of Cornwall & Devon today, so take care. Here are today's tide times.

tide
BBC

Cornish vineyard in Govt's Food Star list

Sam Lindo from the Camel Valley vineyard near Bodmin

tweets: We are delighted to have been selected as one of the country's #50FoodStars for the government event this Thursday

You can

read more about the initiative here.

Gulls back in action

BBC Sport

Torquay United have the unwelcome distraction of a Conference League match at home to Lincoln City this evening - sandwiched between their FA Trophy semi-final games.

gull
Getty Images

The Gulls

trail Wrexham 2-1 with the second leg at Plainmoor on Saturday. Manager Chris Hargreaves admits that they would have rather rearranged the Lincoln game, adding: "It doesn't surprise me, it's been a bit of a joke like that this season but you've just got to deal with it and try and win a game."

News on the hour

The top stories at 13:00 include

BBC Radio Cornwall: Lottery cash joy for Cornish projects, including £9,900 for St Ives Surf Life Saving Club.

BBC Radio Devon: Derriford hospital chief admits no sign of 'black alert' end after
1,000 procedures cancelled so far.

Plymouth council tax reaction

BBC Radio Devon

Plymouth City Council leader Tudor Evans is defending a near 2% council tax hike.

He says that means just 36p a week on the average council tax bill and he reckons the city's getting a good deal.

city
BBC

The Conservative group leader Ian Bowyer is against the council tax rise, saying "Inflation is heading towards zero."

Derriford - your experiences?

Bill Buckley

Presenter, BBC Radio Devon

Today I'm asking about the 'Black Alert' at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital. The hospital says it has been on this type of alert since January but we're only finding out now, why? And what about us? Can we do more to relieve pressure on our hospitals?

Also, there are plans to stop incomers buying Devon homes - is this a great way to help locals or short-sighted, small-minded and just plain unfair?

Let me know what you think by calling 0345 301 1034.

Plymouth inquest resumes

BBC Spotlight

An inquest has resumed in Plymouth into the death of a man with mental health issues. Chang Somers, who was also known as Valan Pitts, was last seen on CCTV in July 2012.

The 36-year-old's body was found a month later in Winner Street at Paignton.

Mr Pitts' family are at Plymouth Coroners Court to hear the evidence, including phone calls made to Devon and Cornwall Police around the time of his death.

Police sex Sgt sacked

Devon and Cornwall Police has confirmed a

sergeant has been sacked after being spotted having sex in a public place while on duty.

cops
BBC

The unnamed officer

admitted the allegation of gross misconduct - Assistant Chief Constable Russ Middleton said: "We expect the highest standards of professional behaviour from all of our officers and staff."

Derriford crisis latest

Laurence Reed

Presenter, BBC Radio Cornwall

I've been talking to the chief operating officer at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital - he has warned hundreds more operations and appointments could be cancelled before

the crisis affecting the health service eases.

derriford
BBC

Kevin Baber apologised to any patients affected but said he did not know when the crisis would end - let us know your experiences 01872 222222.

'Red' and 'Black Alerts'

are in place in health and social care organisations across Devon and Cornwall.

News on the hour

The top stories at 12:00 include

BBC Radio Cornwall: A recruitment campaign for care workers is being funded by Cornwall Council in response to the continuing crisis in the health system in the county.

BBC Radio Devon: More than
1,000 operations cancelled at Derriford Hospital which has been on "black alert" since January.