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  1. Updates on Thursday 7 May

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved


That's all from the local live team for Devon & Cornwall for now. We will be back at 22:00 with our election results page, we hope you can join us then.

Luxury lifestyle

Amy Gladwell

BBC News Online

The people behind the Crown Currency Exchange fraud spent their victims' cash on a luxurious lifestyle, Southwark Crown Court heard during the three-month trial.

Devon & Cornwall Police

Peter and Susan Benstead bought a £900,000 property in Penzance with a £5,700 sit-on lawnmower and a £84,000 Hymer motorhome, as well as a detached home in the Dordogne region of France.

The police say they will pursue the confiscation of assets to obtain compensation for the victims of the frauds. Five people have been convicted of fraud-related offences, a sixth, Peter Benstead, killed himself while on trial.

Hospice criticises BBC for inaccurate portrayal

Exeter Express and Echo


Exeter Express & Echo reports that Exeter's end of life charity Hospiscare has complained to the BBC about an Eastenders' storyline criticising a "grotty" hospice.

Hospiscare housekeeper Wendy Yelland, who works at Hospiscare's hospice in Dryden Road, was appalled after watching the story develop.

"A character in the show was dying and they ran a very negative portrayal of the hospice he was in," said Wendy. "When he died his daughter complained about her dad dying in a grotty hospice. I was so annoyed by that comment."

Sunshine and patchy rain tomorrow

David Braine

Weather forecaster, BBC Spotlight

It will become cloudier and breezier overnight with rain spreading in from the southwest, reaching Plymouth later on this evening, and more eastern areas around midnight. The cloud and rain will keep temperatures up overnight though so it will be frost-free. Minimum Temperature: 8 Deg C (46 Deg F).

Weather graphic

Rain will clear to the north during the morning tomorrow leaving some sunshine around the middle of the day before more patchy rain moves northeastwards across the county later. Maximum Temperature: 16 Deg C (61 Deg F).

Fears over future of garden project

BBC Radio Cornwall

A Cornish project to help people improve their quality of life through gardening

could face closure when funding runs out this summer.



P.E.a.T Project (Plant, Eat and Teach) in west Cornwall helps those with mental health and learning difficulties and recovering drug addicts.

Project manager Anne Oxley said: "It's making people feel better. They are not having to go to the doctors so often because the gardening and being in the fresh air and socialising helps them."

Muslim community oppose mosque plan

Plymouth Herald

Plymouth's largest Muslim community has objected to plans for a new mosque in the city - and said they may have to leave Plymouth if the plan is approved, the

Plymouth Herald reports.

The Plymouth Kurdish Community (PKC) has officially objected to plans for a new mosque and 'cultural centre' in Stonehouse.

The group fears the organisation behind the plan, the Salahuddin Trust, will be more active in promoting and teaching Islam, which they fear could create problems in the community.

Rush hour traffic

BBC Travel

  • On the M5 Devon Northbound, there's debris on the road on M5 northbound between Junction 28, A373 (Cullompton) and Junction 27, A361 (Tiverton). Approach with care.
  • Marine Drive in Widemouth Bay is closed at the Leverlake Road junction, because of an accident.
  • There are two Torpoint Ferries running - waiting times of up to 30 minutes on the Devonport side junction and the same on the Torpoint side.
  • There's slow traffic on A38 in Saltash at Carkeel Roundabout in the roadworks area.

Bella the kitten

Julie Skentelbery

Presenter, BBC Radio Cornwall

Prepare to say awww...this is Bella the kitten. The poor little mite was found abandoned in a garden in Pendeen, suffering from exposure, a heart murmur and deformed front paws.

Cats Protection

Thanks to the generosity of the Cornish public, more than £500 has been raised to pay for Bella's operations and she's now better and has been rehomed! Tonight we'll hear from the

Cats Protection charity in Falmouth.

Wide open to thieves

Simon Hall

Correspondent, BBC South West

As part of my report into an increase in thefts from cars parked on Dartmoor, I've been peering through windows at this Haytor car park.


It seems the anti-theft message is not getting through - I spotted wallets and purses, satellite navigation systems and computer equipment, money, expensive sunglasses and designer clothes, all on show.

The collapse of Crown Currency

Scott Bingham

BBC Spotlight

An administrator who jointly handled the liquidation of Crown Currency Exchange has been telling me what he believed contributed to the company's collapse.

Harold Sorsky told me: "On every deal they were losing about 9% effectively, in other words they were selling pounds for 90p and that is not sustainable - definitely not sustainable - that is not good business sense."

Harold Sorsky

Five people have been convicted of fraud-related offences. The Judge today allowed the media to report that the boss of Crown Currency, Peter Benstead, killed himself while on trial.

Parking - your views?

via Facebook

The issue of inconsiderate parking and ineffectual double yellow lines has sparked a fierce debate on the

Lunchtime with Laurence Facebook page after the show featured concerns from St Day that emergency vehicles and buses might be blocked out.

  • Lee Mac says: Free parking in Camelford and people still park on double yellows on the main road.
  • Tom Goode fumes: What are yellow lines?? There are more cars parked on yellow line than not! People park where they like! As public car parks are to expensive!
  • Muffled Up points out: It doesn't help that many modern cars are much longer and wider than old ones.

Excitement builds at Argyle

Plymouth Argyle Football Club

tweets: Few more than usual for the weekly Home Park presser...can't think why #pafc #WellUpForWycombe

green army
Plymouth Argyle

Crown Currency: police reaction

Amy Gladwell

BBC News Online

The full complexity of the police investigation into the collapse of Crown Currency Exchange has been revealed.

The foreign money exchange firm, based in Hayle, collapsed in 2010. Officers had to work through 350 bank accounts, 3,000 exhibits and accounts from 12,500 victims ahead of the three-month trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Today, as a string of 'guilty' verdicts were returned against five defendants, it was revealed that a sixth, boss Peter Benstead had taken his own life. Det Chief Insp Paul Bean said: "While I welcome the verdicts of the court today I have to recognise it's a tragedy when anyone loses their life. But the verdicts of the court today have gone some way to giving the victims a certain amount of closure in relation to this five-year investigation."

Dartmoor crime warning

Simon Hall

Correspondent, BBC South West

Police have issued a warning to Dartmoor sightseers after thousands of pounds worth of valuables were stolen in a series of break-ins to cars.


Officers fear a gang may be targeting the moor. It comes amid preparations for the Ten Tors challenge, one of Dartmoor's busiest weekends.

Rob Steemson Head ranger at Dartmoor National Park said: "The best advice to avoid the potential of any car crime is to leave your valuables at home. If you are on holiday and you do have to bring your valuables, store them out of sight. Don't come into a car park, find them and then store them out of sight, because you might actually be being watched."

Operation Vortex: latest

Matt Pengelly

Local Live

Officers working on Devon & Cornwall Police's

Operation Vortex road safety campaign have had a busy morning - and have been keeping the public up-to-date via

  • Sun is out and unfortunately so are the speeding vehicles. Vauxhall Insignia & Ford Van both in excess of 90mph on M5 #SpeedKills #OpVortex
  • Drivers of the Mercedes (99MPH) & Ford Focus (98MPH) on the M5 reported straight to court. Heavy fines and possible bans await.
  • Van on M5 Tiverton carrying Chinese food overweight & given fixed penalty. Wonder if this was predicted in the fortune cookies?

Latest stories

Claire Hawke

BBC Local Live

The top stories on BBC Local Live: Devon & Cornwall:

  • The boss of the collapsed foreign exchange firm Crown Currency killed himself while on trial for a multi-million pound fraud, it can be revealed today.
  • People in St Day are calling on Cornwall Council to repaint faded yellow lines which people ignoring, causing a blockage for buses.
  • A pensioner says he's been left in a desperate situation after Derriford hospital cancelled an operation to amputate his leg for the 4th time.

Crown Currency victims speak out

Scott Bingham

BBC Spotlight

Victims of the Crown Currency Exchange collapse in 2010 have been telling me of the effect it has had on their lives.

During the three month trial the court heard how some had lost "life changing amounts of money", including Nick and Larissa Fry from Somerset who lost £110,000 they'd transferred to Crown Currency to buy a dream property in Italy.

Nick and Larissa Fry lost money when Crown Currency collapsed

Nick said: "It's made a massive impact on us, we've got the children we were hoping to put through university, obviously that is now completely different."

Crown Currency trial death

Amy Gladwell

BBC News Online

The Crown Currency foreign exchange boss Peter Benstead, 72, killed himself while on trial for a multi-million pound fraud, it can be reported.


Today the judge at Southwark Crown Court ordered the jury to set aside their verdicts on the 10 charges Mr Benstead had been facing. They found his widow Susan guilty of one charge of money laundering.

Yesterday the jury

convicted four people of offences of fraudulent trading, false accounting and money laundering after a three month trial. Crown Currency, based in Hayle, collapsed with debts of £20m in October 2010.

Argyle tickets go fast

BBC Sport

Support is growing for Plymouth Argyle ahead of their crucial play-off semi-final first leg against Wycombe Wanderers at Home Park.

Ticket sales for Saturday's home game now stand at 12,000 and the club has sold all of its allocation for the second leg at Wycombe.

IPCC to look at complaint

BBC Spotlight

The police have confirmed they're looking at possible new evidence about the death of a pedestrian, who was struck by a car three years ago.

David Service

Celia Service,72, died when a car, which was being driven by a 90-year-old man, left the road near Colwyn Bay in North Wales.

The man was never charged, and a complaint by her husband, David, who now lives in Devon, was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Rain coming in

Kevin Thomas

BBC Weather Forecaster

It will be mostly dry this afternoon with some bright or sunny spells. There will be a few isolated showers and it will also become more cloudy from the southwest. Light or moderate southwesterly winds will become light and variable for a time and then mainly southeasterly.



cloud will thicken as outbreaks of patchy rain spreads northeastwards during the evening. Some of the rain may turn heavy for a time along the south coast and over the moors. Light or moderate southeasterly winds will increase to become fresh at times. Min Temp 8 C (46 F).

Latest headlines

The top headlines on BBC Local Live: Devon & Cornwall:

  • A 73-year-old man from Cornwall, who's had an operation at Derriford Hospital called off for the fourth time, says his condition is ruining his quality of life.
  • Plymouth Argyle say that tickets for Saturday's League Two play-off semi-final at home to Wycombe are close to selling out.
  • People in St Day say they're furious that buses can't get through the village because motorists are parking on faded yellow lines which can't be enforced until they are repainted.

Leg amputation cancelled four times

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

A man whose leg amputation has been postponed four times has said the situation is "getting out of hand".

'Safety Quality Efficiency' sign at Derriford Hospital

Barrie Neale, 73, from Seaton in Cornwall, says Derriford Hospital in Plymouth rescheduled the operation over the past 10 weeks.

Mr Neale was born with a disability and he increasingly struggles with mobility and pain. Hospital bosses apologised and said they were trying to rebook him "as soon as possible".

Police probe Nazi symbols


St Ives police are appealing for information after anti-Semitic graffiti was spotted on a road in town, reports

the Cornishman.

A Swastika, the symbol used by the Nazi Party, was found sprayed on Steeple Lane along with a reference to Hitler and the gassing of Jewish people.

Chiefs aim high

James Law

BBC South West Sport

Full-back Byron McGuigan has said Exeter Chiefs can "make history" by

finishing in the top four of the Premiership to secure a play-off place.

Getty Images

The Devon side sit fifth, one point behind fourth-placed Leicester, and go to Saracens for their penultimate match.

McGuigan said: "It's a big game for our season - to keep our season alive and make history for the club. The boys have been doing their recovery and getting their hunger back now for these last two big games."

Happy ending for Bella the kitten

BBC Radio Cornwall

A cute Cornish kitten called Bella is starting a new life after complicated operations to correct her deformed front paws.

Cats Protection


Cats Protection charity in Falmouth launched a special appeal to pay for the treatment Bella needed - she's now been found a new loving home.

Put a cross in the box

Election 2015

Voters in

Cornwall and
Devon are heading to the polls today to vote in the general election - and in local and mayoral elections too.


Results for the 18 constituencies are expected to start emerging in the early hours of the morning - with St Ives in west Cornwall predicted to be the last to declare, due to the logistical problems of ferrying ballot boxes from the Isles of Scilly.

Can you identify this man?

Claire Hawke

BBC Local Live

Police are trying to identify this man following a

theft and attempted fraud in Plymouth.

Theft and attempted fraud
Devon & Cornwall Police

On 21 February, two MacBook Pro computers were stolen from PC World at Marsh Mills and later that day a man tried to purchase two watches with a value of £7,000 at Fraser Hart jewellers, but left empty handed.

Cornwall rocks BBC Radio 1

Unsigned Cornish bands are being featured by BBC Radio 1's Huw Stephens this week, through the

BBC Introducing in Cornwall strand.

Electronic twosome Groovecatcher

tweets: HUGE thx @davidwhiteshow @huwstephens for playing our track The Color Of Sound on Huw Stephens BBC Radio 1 show last night!! #bbcintroducing

Dowager's housekeeper jailed for theft

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

A "greedy and calculating" ex-housekeeper of the Dowager Countess Bathurst has been

jailed for three years for stealing antiques.

Gloucester Crown Court

Kim Roberts, 59, from Devon, appeared at Gloucester Crown Court for sentencing having pleaded guilty to four counts at an earlier hearing. Judge William Hart said she had betrayed the trust of her employers through "avarice and dishonesty".

How to vote

Election 2015

People across Devon and Cornwall are voting in the general election today. Here's the BBC's guide on

how to vote.

Ballot box

Exeter signing

Brent Pilnick

BBC South West Sport

Exeter City have

signed midfielder Manny Oyeleke after he was released by Championship club Brentford.

Getty Images

The 22-year-old is Grecians boss Paul Tisdale's first signing since his side finished their League Two campaign - Oyeleke played for Chelsea and QPR at youth level and has more recently had loan spells with Northampton, plus Conference clubs Aldershot and Woking.

Introducing success

David White

Presenter, BBC Radio Cornwall

Great news - one of the bands we've been featuring on

BBC Introducing in Cornwall has been tipped for the top by BBC Radio 1.

Hudson Swan

DJ Huw Stephens has selected 'Fake' by The Sum Of in his 'picks of the week' - have a listen and

download the podcast here.

Are we too soft on obese people?

Bill Buckley

Presenter, BBC Radio Devon

A columnist doctor in the

Daily Mail says our society has convinced itself that obesity is an illness. Dr Max Pemberton believes "if we don't dare criticise people for being fat they will crush the NHS".

Is he right? I've been speaking to Slimming World who say we need to be caring and compassionate to help people lose weight. But have we been too soft for too long? Let me know what you think on today's phone-in by calling 0345 3011034.

Roads running smoothly

BBC Travel

  • There's an
    accident on the B3238 Greenbank Road in Plymouth around the Longfield Place junction.
  • Watch out for an accident on B3138 Hollowtree Road in Barnstaple at the McDonalds roundabout.
  • The weather forecast for Friday is for low cloud and reduced visibility which means there is a possibility of
    disruption to Skybus flights.

Woman jailed for Countess thefts

Matt Pengelly

Local Live

A Devon housekeeper has been jailed for three years for the theft of antiques and paintings from a Cirencester countess.

Kim Roberts, who's 59 and from Coliton, had admitted stealing from her former employer, Gloria, the Dowager Countess Bathhurst. She was also sentenced for breaking into Lady Bathurst's London home and stealing antique vases.

All of the stolen items, which included

silver hairbrushes and a Picasso sketch, were recovered - they're valued at £500,000.

Shakedown success

Debbie McCrory

BBC Radio Cornwall

I've been to meet a Cornish dance group who have secured a place at the

Urban Dance Organisation World Championships in Glasgow later this year.


'The Shakedown Crew' from Truro are all under 18, they managed to qualify for the international contest after securing second place at the regional heats in Torquay.

Inside the BBC's studio

Election 2015

Join Emily Maitlis for an

interactive, behind-the-scenes tour of the BBC's Election 2015 TV studio at Elstree as the team prepares for a marathon live broadcast which kicks off as the polls close on Thursday.

BBC Election 2015 Studio during rehearsal

Emily introduces her 6m (20ft) graphics screen which will show every result from across the country. You can also get a preview of the technical wizardry that will have Jeremy Vine standing in the House of Commons and outside 10 Downing Street without leaving the studio.

Brittany Ferries disruption

BBC Travel

Brittany Ferries is warning passengers that the 20:45 sailing of the Pont Aven from Plymouth to Roscoff and the 21:15 sailing from Santander to Plymouth will be delayed because of this week's poor weather.

Double yellow line peril?

Laurence Reed

Presenter, BBC Radio Cornwall

Some angry residents of St Day have been in touch saying their yellow lines are so faded, parking tickets cannot be issued.

st day
Stephen Edwards

The worry is that people are parking on both sides of the road and that could block access for emergency vehicles and buses. Are you worried about this and have you seen similar problems elsewhere in the county? Call me on today's phone-in on 01872 222222.