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  1. Updates on Wednesday 11 March 2015

Live Reporting

By Matt Pengelly and Ben Chapple

All times stated are UK

Get involved


That's all from BBC Local Live in Devon and Cornwall for today.

Thank you for joining us and we'll be back at 08:00 to bring you all of Thursday's news, sport, travel and weather updates.

News on the hour

The top stories at 18:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: The driver of a London to Penzance train which hit debris from a damaged bridge between between Berkshire and Wiltshire had no chance to brake as it was travelling at 90mph, rail investigators say.

BBC Radio Devon: A group of soldiers on a stag party gave emergency medical help to teenager Alex Peguero Sosa after he was stabbed in Kingsbridge last July, a court has been told.

More drizzle and rain

David Braine

Weather forecaster, BBC Spotlight

A cloudy and misty night ahead, with perhaps the odd spot of drizzle at times, mainly over the higher ground. By morning outbreaks of rain will have spread in to affect the western areas giving a damp and to the night. Min Temp: 3C (37F).

Weather map

A rather murky and cloudy start on Thursday, with areas of mist and some fog cloaking the hills. Outbreaks of rain will spread eastwards during the day, becoming persistent over the moors in the afternoon. Max Temp: 13C (55F).

Rail debris collision to be investigated

An incident in which a high-speed London to Penzance train struck brick debris from a fallen 13-tonne bridge parapet is being investigated by a rail crash team.


Rail Accident Investigation Branch said the collision in February lifted the front of the First Great Western train while it was travelling at 90mph between Berkshire and Wiltshire. No one was injured. The parapet had been struck by a reversing lorry about 10 minutes before the impact.

Medic tried to save stabbing victim

An off-duty army medic tried to save a former Plymouth Argyle youth player after he'd been stabbed, a court has heard.

Alex Peguero-Sosa
Plymouth Argyle

Alex Peguero Sosa, 17 died following a night out with friends in Kingsbridge last July. Lee Dent, 42, from East Portlemouth, denies murder. The trial continues.

Cold winter delays daffodils

BBC Spotlight

A relatively cold winter has delayed the flowering of daffodils by up to four weeks during one of the busiest periods of growing and picking them, ahead of Mother's Day on Sunday, growers say.

Daffodil. Pic: Andrew Segal
Andrew Segal

It's estimated the UK produces about 100 million bunches of the flower each year, and 70% of those come from Cornwall.

'Unsung hero' swimming teacher dies

An "unsung hero" of Torbay who taught generations of youngsters to swim has died at the age of 90, the

Herald Express reports.

Tom Searle, who was still teaching swimmers until he was 80, died on Monday, his family confirmed.

Satellite course welcomed


new course at Goonhilly earth satellite station in Cornwall, which organisers hope will make the site a training centre for space mission operators, is a "positive sign for the future of the industry", a local astronomer says.

Satellite. Pic: Thinkstock

The move has been welcomed by Clive Purchase, head of the

Space Centre at Callington Community College. The announcement of the course comes after Newquay Airport was
shortlisted as the UK's spaceport for satellite launches and space tourism.

Dogs 'left without water'

An animal charity boss being tried on 10 animal cruelty charges made dogs go without water if they kicked over their bowls, a

court has heard.

Stuart Ford

Prosecutors told Exeter Magistrates Court a worker for the Society for the Protection and Rehoming of Animals (SPRA) in Torrington, Devon, said dogs were also kept in crates for "the entire day" except for two 10-minute walks. Stuart Ford, 54, denies the charges.

News on the hour

The top stories at 17:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: Police hunting a man who attacked a 22-year-old woman in Truro in the early hours of Saturday say he may have a visible injury to his face.

BBC Radio Devon: A consultant at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital's Emergency Department says staff are dealing with people suffering from the side effects of legal highs "pretty much on a daily basis".

'Surge' in legal high users in hospital

BBC Spotlight

The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital has reported a surge in the number of people needing treatment after using legal highs.

The news comes as a shop in Exeter says it has withdrawn all legal highs from sale. More on BBC Spotlight at 18:30 on BBC1.

Swim on the radio

BBC Radio Devon's Sophie Pierce

tweets: All in a radio reporter's day's work....about to go for a sea swim "live on the radio"

Sophie Pierce and swimmers

Choices, choices!

BBC Radio Cornwall

'Poldark' star Aidan Turner has admitted he'd find it hard to choose between the two women vying for his on-screen affections.


Aidan's character Ross Poldark faces a choice between demure childhood sweetheart Elizabeth or flame-haired servant girl Demelza in the new Sunday night BBC One adaptation.

When asked "Who are you rooting for, Elizabeth or Demelza?" - Aidan Turner

neatly avoided the question like a true Georgian gentleman.

Shaggy dog (rescue) story

BBC Radio Devon

A Jack Russell dog got a helping hand from a team of firefighters in Exeter after it got trapped inside a metal pipe at the Double Locks,

Devon and Somerset Fire Service says.

The rescuers used small tools to remove a grate and set the dog free, the service said.

Bristow funding Torquay until end of financial year

Brent Pilnick

BBC South West Sport

Torquay United chairman Thea Bristow, who is

due to step down, says she will continue to fund the club until the end of the financial year.

Torquay United
Pete Norton

She said: "I will also arrange for my loans to be transferred into shares. Therefore, at that time, I will pass them on debt free." Her family is thought to have invested about £3m in the club.

News on the hour

The top stories at 16:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: An incident which caused a London to Penzance train to hit debris from a damaged bridge, is to be investigated.

BBC Radio Devon: A friend of a man accused of killing former Plymouth Argyle youth player Alex Peguero Sosa tells a court defendant Lee Dent told him his victim "deserved it".

Police impersonator scammers jailed

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Two men

have been jailed for a courier fraud scam in which they duped vulnerable people out of more than £88,000.

Rahim Choudhury and Abdul Shafee. Police handout

Rahim Choudhury and Abdul Shafee, both 19, of Quaker Street, London, tricked elderly people across south west England - including Devon and Cornwall - by pretending to be police. They were sentenced to 38 months and 15 months respectively at Bristol Crown Court after admitting conspiracy to commit fraud charges.

Advice for life

The police say an uncompromising drama tackling the issues of alcohol abuse and personal safety will help young people in Devon and Cornwall keep themselves safe.

Soloman Theatre company

'Last Orders' is being performed at local schools by Solomon theatre group - Det Ch Insp Brett Mitchell from the Force Public Protection Unit, said: "We hope that by presenting safety messages to young people through drama and workshops in their school environment, pupils will absorb and retain essential information about their personal and online safety."

Body in water

BBC Radio Devon

The body of a man has been recovered from the sea off Torquay this morning.

Police say they were called to investigate after someone spotted the body in the water on Torre Abbey Sands Beach. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Torbay Hospital.

Stabbing victim 'deserved it'

BBC Spotlight

A friend of the man accused of killing a former Plymouth Argyle youth player has claimed defendant Lee Dent said his alleged victim "deserved it".

Alex Peguero Sosa

Seventeen-year-old Alex Peguero Sosa (pictured) was stabbed to death with a bottle at a taxi rank in Kingsbridge last July. Plymouth Crown Court heard Mr Dent made the comments using racially abusive language as they walked away from the scene. He denies murder and the case continues.

Animal charity boss 'jabbed dogs'

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

An animal charity boss used a broom handle to jab dogs locked up in crates for 21 hours a day to keep them quiet,

a court has heard.

Stuart Ford, 54, who runs the Society for the Protection and Rehoming of Animals (SPRA) in Torrington, Devon, is also alleged to have suspended dogs off the ground from their necks with a leash. He denies 10 animal cruelty charges.

News on the hour

The top stories at 15:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: Police in Truro encourage girls and women to be vigilant and to not walk alone at night after a 22-year-old was injured in an attack by a man in the early hours of Saturday.

BBC Radio Devon: The government says efforts by police in Exeter to crack down on the problems caused by so-called legal highs should be adopted in other parts of the country.

Lazza's shear delight

via Facebook

The Lunchtime with Laurence team, which joined Mr Reed at the Food and Country Day at the Royal Cornwall Showground, says on

Facebook: Laurence has many talents. We're not sure sheep shearing is one of them.

Laurence Reed sheep shearing

Teen advice from 'Last Orders'

A hard-hitting play is touring schools in Devon and Cornwall to raise

the difficult subjects of alcohol, rape and sexual exploitation with the region's young people.

Solomon Theatre Company

The drama 'Last Orders' is performed by Solomon Theatre Company and supported by Devon County Council and Devon and Cornwall Police - safety messages from the force's #noblurredlines anti-rape campaign have been incorporated into the workshops.

Man, 87, left on chair in A&E for 10 hours

An 87-year-old man who previously had two triple heart bypasses was left on a chair in Torbay Hospital's casualty department for 10 hours, the

Herald Express reports.

Leslie Lynton, 87, from Chudleigh, was taken to hospital with a severe nosebleed because of concerns of his being on blood-thinning medication. Hospital bosses apologised, saying they had to deal with "unprecedented demand".

'Head shops' action

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

A government minister has praised south west councils for

their stand against shops selling so-called 'legal highs' as two more substances are banned.


This Exeter shop paid for security guards to help to control the situation following complaints from other traders last year - managers have told me they've now withdrawn all legal highs from sale.

Crime Prevention Minister Lynne Featherstone MP said: "We're sending out guidance today to all local authorities using the very good examples we have from Exeter and Taunton to show local authorities there are a number of tools and a number of powers which they can use to move against these 'head shops'."

Beaver cleared to stay on Otter

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Devon's wild beavers will be allowed to stay on the River Otter after being found to be

clear of a disease.

Beavers in the River Otter. Pic: Dave Land
Dave Land

Devon Wildlife Trust, which was granted a licence to look after them as long as they were free of any disease which is harmful to humans, is currently keeping them in an artificial lodge. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed the beavers were free of tapeworm.

Cloud and drizzle clearing - for a while

Kevin Thomas

BBC Weather Forecaster

It's cloudy with patchy rain and drizzle turning heavier and more persistent for a time before clearing later.


Tonight it will become

generally cloudy again with low cloud covering high ground and turning misty. Some scattered outbreaks of rain and drizzle will also develop by the end of the night. Light variable winds will become moderate or fresh from the south or southeast. Min Temp: 4C (39F).

News on the hour

The top stories at 14:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: Young woman assaulted in Truro in night-time attack.

BBC Radio Devon: An investigation is underway after a man's body was recovered from the sea off Torbay.

Cuts mean 'bars need to stop trouble'

Police Commissioner Tony Hogg has told bar bosses they will have to take more responsibility for reducing alcohol-related trouble because further public sector cuts are inevitable, the

Plymouth Herald reports.

Tony Hogg

Mr Hogg said whatever government came out of the General Election in May, cuts to police budgets were highly likely as the national deficit was tackled.

Truro woman attacked

BBC Radio Cornwall

Police are

appealing for witnesses after a young woman walking alone in Truro in the early hours was attacked.

The woman suffered a slight injury after being attacked near the Trafalgar roundabout at 03:30 on Saturday - the suspect is described as being about 5ft 6in tall, with a bald head and foreign accent. He may have a visible injury to his face.

Det Con Matthew Cobb said: "We would encourage girls and women in the city to be vigilant, and not to walk alone at night."

No more 'legal highs'

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

BBC Spotlight's Hamish Marshall

tweets: No legal highs now being sold in shops in Exeter after this store says it has voluntarily withdrawn them from sale.


Home deposits 'near-on impossible'

BBC Spotlight

The boss of a Plymouth-based company offering low-cost properties to local people says homes like the 1,000 his firm is offering are needed because "if you don't have a bank of Mum and Dad, it's near-on impossible to save for a deposit from a taxed income".

Richard Connolly, chief executive of Rentplus

The chief executive of Rentplus Richard Connolly - which has secured £150m in private funding for the scheme - said: "Never have house prices been so expensive and never has the requirement for a deposit been so great."

News on the hour

The top stories at 13:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: Police are hunting a man who attacked a young woman in Truro.

BBC Radio Devon: Exeter shop says it's withdrawn all 'legal highs' from sale.

By Royal approval

BBC Radio Cornwall's Laurence Reed has been speaking to HRH The Countess of Wessex during his outside broadcast from the Royal Cornwall Showground near Wadebridge.


Some say ..

Bill Buckley

Presenter, BBC Radio Devon

From 1300 I'll be asking if Jeremy Clarkson should stay or go.

After a 'fracas' with a Top Gear producer, the BBC has suspended the presenter. But after a year of controversy around the presenter and the show, is it time for him to go for good?

Get in touch: 0345 301 1034

'Mission control' training

BBC Radio Cornwall

The man behind a new training course in west Cornwall for 'mission control' operatives says the county is ideally placed to play a part in future space exploration.


Ian Jones, chief executive of Goonhilly Earth Station, said their remote location on the Lizard could be an advantage adding: "We can see all the way across to the Americas, we can see all the way across to Asia via satellite so we're actually in a brilliant position."

Earlier this month Newquay Airport became

the only location in England on a shortlist of five potential sites for a permanent UK Spaceport.

Care home's safety 'compromised'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Torquay's Highland Mist Care Home has been rated as "inadequate" overall after improvements required were still "not fully met" by the time of an unannounced visit in November, inspectors say.

The Care Quality Commission said

in a report that inspectors found the home, in Bronshill Road, was "failing to provide care which was safe, effective, responsive to people's needs or well led" and that "people's safety was compromised in a number of areas". The home cares for up to eight people with mental health needs.

'Farce' health meeting 'inaccessible'

A meeting to discuss the future of healthcare in St Austell has been dubbed an "absolute farce" after people in wheelchairs and on crutches found the chosen venue, which was upstairs, had no disabled access, the

Cornish Guardian reports.

The meeting, at St Austell Rugby Club on Monday night, was discussing to merge the town's four GP practices. NHS England apologised that the venue, booked on its behalf, was unsuitable for some. It said that "any such meeting should be held in venues that are accessible to all".

Merger abandoned - 'disappointing'

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

Campaigners say they are

"disappointed" plans to merge two of the largest healthcare providers in Cornwall have been abandoned.

Graham Webster, the vice chairman of Health Initiative Cornwall, said merging Peninsula Community Health and the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust was the "sensible way forward".

The plans have been abandoned after a study looked at how they would merge and the financial implications.