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  1. Police investigate general election expenses in SW
  2. Plans to close four south Devon community hospitals approved
  3. Developers win Topsham Gap appeal
  4. Isles of Scilly gear up for Gig Championships
  5. Updates on Thursday 28 April

Live Reporting

By Andrew Segal

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Devon and Cornwall have finished for the day, but we'll be back at 08:00 on Friday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Latest weather: Chilly overnight, cool but sunny on Friday

Holly Green

BBC Weather

There'll be outbreaks of rain and fairly windy through the first part of the night. It will be a bit of a chilly night but not as cold as last night. Minimum temperature: 3C (37F).


The wind will ease through the day on Friday and it will remain largely dry, with just a few showers. Despite some sunny spells, it will continue to feel cool. Maximum temperature: 11C (52F).

'Devastating toll' of cancer con student Elisa Bianco

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

A student who lied that she had cancer to a college lecturer brought a "truly devastating toll", said Appeal Court judges.

Cornwall College

Elisa Bianco lied to Cornwall College lecturer Sally Retallack who funded a £2,500 final trip before discovering her deceit.

Bianco's 32 month sentence for stalking was cut to 28 at the Court of Appeal in London. Mrs Retallack had since moved abroad to "try to rebuild her life", the court heard.

Judges gave Bianco credit for a guilty plea and steps she had taken towards getting a job.

Scanner peers deep inside human eye

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

Images of the human eye are being revealed by a high-tech scanner at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

It means patients can be examined while avoiding painful injections.

Latest headlines in Devon and Cornwall

Andrew Segal

Local Live

- A "mad bull" church warden who attacked an 85-year-old former policeman is spared jail

- South Devon health bosses approve plans to consult on closing four community hospitals

- Police confirm they are looking into general election expenses affecting South West constituencies

- Cornwall-based singer-songwriter Sam Kelly wins at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards

Stranded turtle's rescue 'nearly a miracle

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A stranded sea turtle's rescue and rehabilitation has been "little short of a miracle", aquarium staff say.

Tallulah the turtle

The loggerhead turtle, nicknamed Tallulah, was discovered stranded on Gwithian Beach in Cornwall in January. She is due to be released in the Gulf Stream by an Irish Navy after being nursed back to health at Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium (pictured).

Aquarium curator Steve Matchett thanked all those who "worked so hard to firstly save her life and then painstakingly nurse her back to health". He added: "We all wish her the very best of luck and hope, one day, she will return to the beaches she was hatched on to lay her own eggs."

Cancer con student Elisa Bianco's sentence is cut

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

A student who faked terminal cancer to con a former lecturer has had her sentence cut.

Elisa Bianco

Elisa Bianco said she had just months to live and Sally Retallack funded a £2,500 final trip for the deceitful 22-year-old, the Appeal Court in London heard.

Bianco, of Station Road, Fowey, in Cornwall was jailed for 32 months at Truro Crown Court in December 2015 after she admitted stalking. Appeal Court judges cut it to 28 months.   

Ambulance crews expect thousands of calls over holiday weekend

Exeter Express & Echo

Ambulance crews are expecting nearly 10,000 calls for their services in the South West over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Sam Kelly wins at Folk Awards

View more on twitter

Singer-songwriter Sam Kelly is celebrating winning the Horizon Award for "pushing new boundaries" at last night's BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Sam, originally from Norwich, now lives in Cornwall.

Police investigate general election expenses

Police have confirmed they are looking into general election expenses affecting constituencies in the South West. 

The Conservatives have previously admitted failing to declare £38,000 of general election expenses. 

Devon and Cornwall Police said they were meeting with forces from around the country, along with the Electoral Commission and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Health bosses 'want public to talk' over hospital closures

BBC Radio Devon

Local communities in south Devon will be involved in changes to health services after commissioners approved plans to close four community hospitals, a senior manager says.

The South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group plans to close hospitals in Paignton (pictured), Ashburton Dartmouth and Bovey Tracey, plus four minor injuries units. A public consultation will start in the next few weeks. 

Paignton Hospital. Pic: Google

Chief Clinical Officer Dr Nick Roberts said: "I want the public to be involved. I want the people in those communities to talk to us about how we can best deliver healthcare into their population into the future, long-term, using the resources, workforce and money that we have available."  

A&E cuts a 'terrifying prospect'

BBC Radio Devon

Any suggestion of cuts in major services at a north Devon hospital are a "terrifying prospect" and would leave local people at a "huge disadvantage" for treatment, a town mayor says.

North Devon District Hospital

The future of A&E, maternity, children's and stroke services at North Devon District Hospital are being reviewed as part of plans to try to prevent a multi-million pound budget deficit. Health commissioners said it was too early to discuss specific options but said the NHS was living beyond its means in parts of the county. 

Mayor Val Elkins said: "We live in a remote area with very limited transport links, and it would obviously be life-threatening if people had to travel as far as Exeter for emergency services." She added health bosses needed to think about the "economic impact of removing jobs and services from the area".

Sidmouth church warden spared jail for attack

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

A "mad bull" church warden who attacked an 85-year-old former policeman has been spared jail.

Richard Hadley

Graham Booker, 68, shoved Richard Hadley to the ground and then kicked him in a row over a path next to his Methodist church in Sidmouth, Devon. Exeter magistrates jailed Booker for eight weeks, but suspended the sentence for 12 months. Booker, of Windsor Mead, Sidmouth, was found guilty of assault for the attack on the path last October.  

Rogue trader warning after elderly woman conned out of £2,000

Exeter Express & Echo

Police in Exeter and East Devon are warning residents about rogue traders, claiming to be from Devon County Council, who are offering to tarmac driveways.

Council to consider 'wider implications' of Topsham Gap appeal

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Exeter City Council is to consider the "wider implications" of developers winning an appeal to build on the so-called Topsham Gap.

The Planning Inspectorate decided the council was wrong to turn down an application by Waddeton Park Ltd for a 60-bed care home, plus more than 100 homes for over-55s on land between the city and old port of Topsham. Critics said the development would swallow up part of the green belt.

Richard Short, of the council, said the inspectorate's conclusions "are clearly not shared by many Topsham residents". The council has six weeks to make a further appeal to the High Court.

Parents of boy with genetic condition don't know what his life expectancy is

BBC Radio Cornwall

The parents of a little boy in Cornwall with an undiagnosed genetic condition say they "really don't know what to expect" about his future because they don't know what his illness is.

Freddie Gwilliams

Five-year-old Freddie Gwilliams can't walk or speak and needs round-the-clock care. 

His, mother, Hayley Gwilliams, said: "We don't know if we'll ever see him walk. We don't know if we'll ever hear him say 'Mummy' or 'Daddy'. We don't know if he'll deteriorate over time, or what his life expectancy is."

Lifeboat ready for launch

Cornwall has second highest level of obesity hospital admissions

Press Association

Cornwall has the second highest level of hospital admissions for obesity in England, according to a new report.

The report, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, said the county had 11,493 admissions in 2014/15 where obesity was the main reason for a person being admitted, or a secondary factor. 

The highest was Hertfordshire County Council with 11,722. England saw 440,288 admissions in total, the highest figure on record, and more than 10 times higher than the 40,741 recorded in 2004/5.

New Devon police commander

Girl, 12, grabbed by stranger

BBC Radio Devon

A girl has been grabbed by an unknown man in Barnstaple, police say. 

The 12-year-old was on Bear Street, walking home from school, on Wednesday afternoon when she was approached and grabbed. She struggled and the man left the scene, officers said. She was not harmed.

The man was described as about 5ft 6ins tall, wearing a black hooded top and jogging bottoms.

Just like Jesse James (not like Jessie J)

Plymouth Herald

The sentencing of a gang of burglars who raided 120 commercial premises, including in Devon and Cornwall, has been put off after prison staff spelled one of the gang's name wrong.

Gig rowers head off to the Scillies

Plans to close four community hospitals approved

BBC Radio Devon

Health bosses in south Devon have approved controversial plans to consult on closing four community hospitals.

Hospitals in Paignton, Ashburton Dartmouth and Bovey Tracey have been earmarked for closure, as well as four minor injuries units. 

A public consultation will start in the next few weeks. The South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group said the move was about improving patient care, as well as saving money.

Time 'of the essence' in bowel cancer treatment

Jenny Walrond, Health Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

A bowel cancer survivor says "time is of the essence" for anyone who suspects they may have the disease.

Thom Hunt

About 90% of people in the South West don't know enough about the symptoms of bowel cancer, according to local charity Bowel Cancer West. The disease is the second most common cause of cancer death in the country. But, with early diagnosis, survival rates are good. 

Thom Hunt, had to undergo emergency treatment after he was diagnosed with the disease six years ago. He said: "Timing is the issue. If you have any symptoms whatsoever, you've got to go to the doctor."

Youth centre concerns 'a problem of our own making'

BBC Radio Devon

A Torbay councillor says concerns over the future of a multimillion pound youth centre are "a problem of our own making".


About £5m was spent on Parkfield in Paignton, but now Torbay Council wants to build a special school on the site. The council said youth facilities would remain, but the Torbay Community Partnership said it was worried about the future. 

Liberal Democrat councillor Adrian Sanders said: "It was a five-star centre that the previous mayor was warned we couldn't afford ... We've got to find a solution to this. The last thing anyone wants to see is those facilities not being available for young people."

Cornwall residents 'get £76-127 a year per head from EU'

'Stranger danger' warning after girl asked to get into car outside school

Plymouth Herald

Parents in Exeter have been asked to remind their children about 'stranger danger' after a vehicle pulled up by a school and a man attempted to persuade a pupil into the car.

Rescued turtle to be released at sea

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Tallulah the turtle. Pic: Blue Reef Aquarium
Blue Reef Aquarium

A sea turtle rescued by the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay is to be released into the sea by the Irish Navy.

The loggerhead turtle, nicknamed Tallulah, who was discovered stranded on Gwithian Beach in Cornwall, was taken to Cork in Ireland via a route which included Bristol and Fishguard in Wales. She'll be released with another rescued turtle while the ship sails to Gibraltar, the aquarium says.

Police Commissioner debate: Meet the candidates

Janet Kipling

BBC Radio Devon

I'm here this afternoon, hosting a round table Police and Crime Commissioner debate.

I'll be putting your questions to the six candidates looking for your vote. You can find out more about them here.

Call in on 0845 3011034.

Inside the human eye

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

Images of the human eye are revealed with a high-tech scanner at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

Retinal image

Patients can benefit because it avoids painful injections.

Truro play-off place 'massive' - Tully

Brent Pilnick, BBC Sport

Truro City boss Steve Tully says making the National League South play-offs is a 'massive achievement' for the club.

Steve Tully
Truro City FC

The White Tigers were only promoted to the division last season, but need just one point from their final two games to secure fourth place.

"As the season's progressed we've got better and better," said Tully, who led Truro to victory in the Southern Premier league play-offs a year ago. "It's a massive achievement, at the start of the season we were relegation favourites."

Latest headlines in Devon and Cornwall

Andrew Segal

Local Live

- An assault on a football referee in St Austell is investigated by police

- Developers win an appeal to build on land near Exeter known as the Topsham Gap

- There are fears for the future of a youth centre in Torbay which opened just a few years ago

- Gig rowers sail to the Isles of Scilly for the World Pilot Gig Championships

Is Cornwall suffering from 'Disneyfication'?

Donna Birrell

BBC Radio Cornwall

On the phone-in today: Are parts of Cornwall becoming too commercialised? 

A bronze sculpture has been revealed at Tintagel Castle despite claims the Cornwall landmark is becoming too much like Disneyland. 

Call us on 01872 222222.

Undiagnosed genetic conditions mean 'children are lost in the system'

BBC Spotlight

The parents of a little boy with an undiagnosed genetic condition say children like him are often "lost in the system".

Gwilliams family

Five-year-old Freddie Gwilliams can't walk or speak and needs round-the-clock care. 

His parents said not knowing what was wrong with him meant they also had no idea what the future holds.

Developers win Topsham Gap appeal

BBC Spotlight

Developers have won their appeal to build on the so-called Topsham Gap.

Topsham Gap planning inquiry

Hundreds of local people attended a recent planning inquiry (pictured) to voice their opposition to plans for a 60-bed care home, plus more than 100 homes for over-55s. Critics said the development would swallow up green belt land between the city and old port of Topsham.   

The Planning Inspectorate has decided that Exeter City Council was wrong to turn down the application by Waddeton Park Ltd. The council has six weeks to make a further appeal to the High Court.

Woman injured in an A38 collision

BBC Radio Cornwall

A woman has been injured in a collision between a car and a van on the A38 in the Glynn Valley.

Emergency crews were called to the scene at about 07:25, police said.

The extent of the injuries of the woman, who was in the car and described as in her 40s, is not known.

Health commissioners discuss hospitals closure proposals

Police investigate assault on referee during football match

BBC Radio Cornwall

Police say they are investigating an assault on a referee in St Austell earlier this week.

AFC St Austell midfielder Marcus Martin has been charged by Cornish Football Association with improper conduct after allegedly attacking a referee during a game between St Austell AFC and Tavistock on Tuesday evening. The FA has given Martin and his club two weeks to respond to the charge.

Devon and Cornwall Police appealed for witnesses, adding: "No arrests have been made at this stage and inquiries are continuing into the assault."