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  1. Updates on Monday 11 July 2016

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 Tuesday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Don't forget Spotlight on BBC One at 18:30 this evening, and the late bulletin at 22:30. There will also be news through the night on your BBC Local Radio station.

Latest weather: Heavy showers continuing

David Braine, Weather Forecaster

Through this evening and overnight, showers will continue to break out, turning heavy at times. It'll be noticeably cooler and less humid than last night for most. Minimum temperature: 12C (54F).


Further showers are expected at times on Tuesday, becoming heavy in places. There should be more in the way of sunshine and winds will be less breezy than today. Maximum temperature: 18C (64F).

Huge whale attracts crowds of sightseers

Claire Hawke

BBC Local Live

This sperm whale died after washing onto Perranporth beach in Cornwall yesterday.

Experts will carry out a post mortem examination to establish how it died

Experts from the Zoological Society of London have now arrived on the beach where they are carrying out a post-mortem examination.

BBC Rewind: Reg Varney - On the Buses

BBC Rewind

Today marks the 100th anniversary since Reg Varney's birth in Canning Town in east London. But he was also a well-known Devon resident, retiring to the county in the 1980s, living in Dartmouth and Budleigh Salterton.

He will forever be associated with the character Stan Butler in the TV series "On The Buses", a young-at-heart eternally unlucky-in-love bus driver. However, he was in fact a good decade-and-a-half older than the character he portrayed - Reg himself being 52 when filming commenced.

Reg Varney

He made great efforts in researching the role, so much so that he even took bus-driving lessons and gained his public vehicle licence to allow him to be filmed driving the bus on open roads.

His daughter, Jeanne Marley, conceded he was quite lucky in how he looked: "He was very blessed with his youthful appearance, possibly because he was unwell as a child, and he didn’t really look his age very late in life."

Varney died in a nursing home in Budleigh Salterton in 2008. He was 92.

Car park alternatives 'will be found if housing goes ahead'

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

A Devon council says it will provide alternative parking elsewhere if spaces are taken away by proposals to turn car park sites in two towns into housing.

Car park sign

The proposals for the Shadycombe car park in Salcombe - dubbed Chelsea-on-Sea - are part of South Hams Council's plan for house-building over the next 20 years. Businesses in the town, and nearby Kingsbridge, where there are similar plans, say trade could suffer. 

Conservative councillor Judy Pearce told the BBC: "We are trying to get people's opinions on whether what we are proposing is a good idea. Nothing is set in stone at this stage. These are only proposals and that needs to be quite clear to people."

Latest headlines in Devon and Cornwall

Andrew Segal

Local Live

  • The death of a 12-year-old boy after he was hit in the head by a metal peg at a football match was a freak accident, an inquest concludes
  • Zoo staff hope to catch a lynx which escaped from Dartmoor Zoo by using a recording of its mother to help trap it
  • A 27-year-old man is charged with drugs offences after a suspected cannabis factory is discovered in Axminster
  • A row breaks out over plans for houses on car parks in Salcombe and Kingsbridge
  • Strandings specialists are to carry out a post-mortem examination on a sperm whale that died on a Cornish beach
  • Cornwall Council says it will not tolerate hate crimes after a Polish family in Plymouth is sent a threatening letter and had a shed set on fire

Lynx photo hunters 'could disrupt capture plans'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

People are being warned not to approach a lynx which escaped from Dartmoor Zoo because it could disrupt capture plans, police say.

The search for Flaviu began last Thursday after the wild cat was found to have disappeared from his enclosure. Zoo wardens are planning to use a recording of his mother to help trap him. Park staff have set 25 humane traps in the area. 

Flaviu the lynx. Pic: Dartmoor Zoo
Dartmoor Zoo

Devon and Cornwall Police said people should not be tempted to look for Flaviu. 

The force said: "Any activity in this area, such as trying to get photographs, runs the risk of alarming the animal and possibly making it move on and thus making it harder to find. There is also a small risk that, if alarmed, the lynx could injure anyone who does not understand its potential behaviour in such circumstances."

Man charged after Axminster cannabis factory discovered

A man has been charged after a cannabis factory was discovered in Axminster. 

Police said they seized a large amount of the suspected Class B drug last Thursday at premises in Chard Street. The operation to collect and sieze equipment lasted through the weekend. 

A 27-year-old was due to appear at Exeter Crown Court on 11 August, charged with production of the drug, police said.

Exeter rugby referee to officiate at Rio Olympics

BBC Spotlight

A rugby referee from Exeter says she is honoured to be the sole English official chosen for this summer's Olympics in Rio. 

Sara Cox

Sara Cox will be overseeing matches in the rugby sevens event at the games in Brazil next month - the first time rugby has featured at an Olympics in 92 years.

Olly Croker inquest: Coroner writing to Football Assosication over rope barriers

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

A coroner is to write to the Football Association to inform it about the danger of rope barriers after a metal peg which had holding ropes fatally injured a 12-year-old boy in Devon.

Olly Croker. Pic: Tiverton High School
Tiverton High School

Olly Croker, from Bampton, died from severe head injuries two days after the incident at Bradninch last September, in what Devon Coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland concluded was "a freak accident." He had been watching his brother play at an amateur match when a player went into the rope, causing the peg to come out of the ground and become embedded in his head.

The ropes had been put in place as part of the Football Association's Respect campaign after some poor behaviour by supporters at games around the country. 

Devon and Cornwall Police sacks officer who had sex with victims

North Devon Journal

A policeman with Devon and Cornwall Police who had sex with vulnerable women victims he met while on duty has been sacked.

Conservative Party members 'disappointed they will not get leadership vote'

Tamsin Melville

Political Reporter, BBC Radio Cornwall

A Cornwall MP says grassroots members of the Conservative Party are likely to be "disappointed" that they will not get their say in its leadership election.

Theresa May will become the UK's next prime minister after Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the contest. Mrs Leadsom, who campaigned to leave the EU, said the UK needed "strong and stable government" and that Mrs May was "ideally placed" to implement Brexit.

Andrea Leadsom. Pic: PA

Mrs Leadsom had to apologise to Mrs May after suggesting in a weekend newspaper interview that being a mother made her a better candidate for the job. One source close to the energy minister told BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg "abuse has been too great" for Mrs Leadsom during the contest.

St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double said people "can probably assume" press scrutiny played a part in Mrs Leadsom's decision.

Beached whale: 'Sad end for amazing animal'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A sperm whale which died on a Cornish beach is one of only six sperm whales to have been stranded in the county since records began, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust says.

Whale. Pic: Niki Clear
Niki Clear

The 40ft-long female was discovered in the shallows of Perranporth beach on Sunday.

Abby Crosby, from the trust, said: "It was a sad end for this amazing whale. But, by examining these strandings, it at least gives us a chance to investigate these animals properly and learn more about them. And, the more we know, the better we're able to fight for their protection".

Eggs-ellent entries in the Stithians Show

Building homes on town car park sites 'beyond belief'

BBC Spotlight

Proposals to allocate car parks for housing is "just beyond belief", a local businesswoman says.

Building on Fore Street car park in Kingsbridge and on Shadycombe car park in Salcombe is under consideration by South Hams District Council.

Liz Hore

Liz Hore, who runs the Victoria Inn in Salcombe, said: "You can see the car park totally full. All these are visitors coming into the town to spend money. Where on earth will they park when it's a housing complex?"

Councillor Judy Pearce told the BBC the authority was under pressure from the government to find new housing sites, but added nothing had been agreed yet.

Dartmoor Zoo lynx: Mother's call bid to trap wild cat

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

Zoo wardens hoping to catch a lynx which escaped from Dartmoor Zoo will be using a recording of the animal's mother to help trap it.

Klementyna and Flaviu
Dave Rolfe/Port Lympne

They are also hoping to use bedding from Flaviu's former home at Port Lympne Reserve in Kent to attract it. 

A round-the-clock search is continuing for the wild cat that went missing last Thursday. Staff believe the animal is in farmland around the zoo near Plymouth. 

Gordon Ramsay wins battle to demolish £4.4m home in Rock for villa

West Briton

Celebrity chef Ramsay has been granted planning permission to demolish his multi-million pound holiday home in north Cornwall to make way for a new luxury villa - despite fierce opposition from local residents.

Takeover delay frustrates Torquay chairman

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Torquay United chairman David Phillips says he is frustrated at the delays over a planned takeover at Plainmoor.

David Phillips

The National League club has been the subject of a bid from Swindon-based Gaming International Ltd, which runs out on 31 July.

 "I was really hopeful to make a definitive statement today," Phillips told BBC Sport following the National League club's annual meeting on Monday. "We've come along some obstacles in that period, and it will probably go right to the last day." 

BBC Rewind: Reg Varney, the painter

BBC Rewind

Actor Reg Varney is perhaps most famous for his role in On The Buses. But did you know that he was also an exhibited painter? We look at some of his work as we mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Reg Varney with Terry Wogan

His daughter, Jeanne Marley, said he lived a quiet yet active life by the sea after moving to Devon in the early 1980s, spending some of his time painting local landscapes. He exhibited his work locally and in London.

He's seen here showing off some of his works on Terry Wogan's chat show in the 1980s. He died in 2008, aged 92.

Defender Bradley signs for Plymouth

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Plymouth Argyle have signed former Crawley Town captain Sonny Bradley.

Sonny Bradley
Getty Images

The club has not disclosed the length of the the 24-year-old defender's contract.

He is the 11th new signing made by Argyle this summer and played 49 games for Crawley last season, with his only goal coming at Argyle's fierce rivals Exeter City in a 2-2 draw on 14 November.

Liskeard Cattle Market consultation closing

BBC Radio Cornwall

A consultation into the future of the Liskeard Cattle Market site closes today. 

Cornwall Council said responses to the consultation would look at at "potential uses for the Liskeard Cattle Market site should it become available in the future".

Proposals put forward so far include: the creation of a civic space surrounded by small shops and workshops, new office space, a new community hall, a pannier market, and new housing.

GB Royals win Rugby Europe Sevens event at Exeter

BBC Sport

Great Britain continued their Olympic preparations as one of the two teams the squad fielded secured victory in the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series event in Exeter.

Trophy lifted after the Royals' win over France. Pic: Getty Images
Getty Images

The GB Lions lost in the quarter-finals to Russia but the GB Royals overcame France 33-17 in the final. Tries from Ollie Lindsay-Hague (2), Alex Davis, James Rodwell and Ruaridh McConnochie gave GB Royals victory. 

GB head coach Simon Amor is due to name his final squad for Rio on 19 July.

Woman dragged into bushes in serious sexual assault

Plymouth Herald

Police are hunting a man who grabbed a young woman on a quiet back road and dragged her into bushes before sexually assaulting her.

Olly Croker inquest: 'Freak death' concluded as accidental

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

A 12-year-old boy who died after a metal peg holding a rope in place at a football match became embedded in his head died accidentally, an inquest has concluded.

Olly Croker

Olly Croker had been watching the amateur match at Bradninch on 12 September when he was struck by the peg after players hit the rope.  

Coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland described the incident as a "freak accident" as the 8mm anchor peg flew 20-30m towards Olly, causing "unsurvivable" injuries.

Olly's family left the hearing without making any comment.

Whale carcass 'may go into landfill or be buried on site'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A whale carcass on Perranporth beach in Cornwall is most likely to be disposed of by being buried on site or disposed of in landfill, stranding experts say. 


A team from the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme at the Zoological Society of London is to carry out a post-mortem examination of the carcass of the 40ft-long female sperm whale, which was discovered in the shallows of Perranporth beach on Sunday. 

Staff from the programme said the carcass could not be just taken out to sea for disposal because of the possible risks to shipping.

Weather latest: Bright spells and scattered showers

BBC Weather

Cloudy at times this afternoon with scattered showers, some heavier showers are possible and there is a risk of thunder, but during the afternoon the showers will become more isolated and it will become brighter. 

Weather graphic

Tonight there will be some further showers, and these may again be heavy for a time during the early hours. However, most places will be dry by morning. It will also feel cooler as a result. Winds will be mainly light or moderate from the west or northwest although occasionally fresher around exposed coasts. Minimum temperature: 10C (50F).  

BBC Rewind: Reg Varney 'really enjoyed Devon'

BBC Rewind

Comedy actor Reg Varney is perhaps most famous for playing the role of Stan Butler in the classic '60s and '70s sitcom On The Buses. But did you know that he spent the last two and a bit decades of his life in Devon?

Reg Varney

Today marks the 100th anniversary since his birth in Canning Town in east London.

He retired to Devon after a serious heart attack in 1981. His daughter, Jeanne Marley, said: "We first moved to Dartmouth, which he enjoyed very much, doing a local radio comedy series about a family of cockney sparrows, before he and Mum joined us in Budleigh [Salterton]. That was a place he had holidayed too and he really enjoyed it there, still playing and singing in his latter years". 

Varney died in 2008, aged 92.

Speakers to play sound of missing lynx's mum across Dartmoor

Western Morning News

Recordings of the missing lynx's mother will be broadcast across the moor as the search for the animal enters days five.

A bit of brass at the Stithians Show

Testing the limits: Daughter of woman with dementia speaks out

Janet Kipling

BBC Radio Devon

Have you been affected by dementia? A woman has told the BBC she despairs at what she describes as her mother's torment from the illness and the difficulty in getting her medication that could calm her.

Marian James from Plymouth filmed her mother during visits to her care home to show the harrowing realities of dementia. Let me know if you've experienced similar by calling the lunchtime phone-in on 0345 3011034.

Night-vision cameras used to try and trap escaped lynx

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Staff at a Devon zoo searching for an escaped lynx have been checking footage from night-vision cameras to ensure their traps are in the right place.

Flaviu. Pic: Dartmoor Zoo
Dartmoor Zoo

Flaviu escaped after arriving at Dartmoor Zoo from Kent on Wednesday. Park staff set 25 humane traps baited with meat after a sighting in Sparkwell, near Plymouth.

On its Facebook page, the zoo said the cameras on the traps would "help to confirm his location and movements to ensure we place the humane traps in the right locations".

Latest travel: A3079 closed by fallen tree

BBC Travel

  • Land's End flights to the Isles of Scilly are currently on hold due to a deterioration in weather. Newquay & Exeter Skybus are on time.
  • The Stithians Show is taking place so delays are possible on roads around the area.
  • The A3079 is closed in Devon between the A386 and A3072 junctions because of a fallen tree, diversions are in place.
  • Watch out for delays eastbound on the A30 over Bodmin Moor because of ongoing roadworks.

Fraudster jailed after fiddling £1000s in bogus overtime claims

Elisabeth Mahy

BBC News Online

A fraudster who faked a reference for an ambulance job has been jailed after fiddling thousands of pounds in bogus overtime claims.

Exeter Crown Court

Spencer, 37, formerly of Station Road, Copplestone, admitted three counts of fraud and one of perverting the course of justice.

He was jailed for a total of two years and six months by Judge Graham Cottle at Exeter Crown Court.

Olly Croker inquest: Metal peg could have been thrown 25m-30m away'

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

A 12-year-old boy died after a metal peg holding a rope in place at a football match was embedded in his head after being hit by players, an inquest has heard.

Olly Croker had been watching the amateur match at Bradninch on 12 September when he was struck by the peg. 

A Health and Safety expert told the hearing at Devon County Hall that the rope was doubled up, increasing "the chances of pulling an anchor out", and there was enough energy in the rope when hit to project the peg 25m to 30m away. The hearing continues.

Stithians Show: all things agricultural on the lunchtime show

Martin Bailie

BBC Radio Cornwall

We're at the Stithians Show with our lunchtime programme today.

Join us for the latest from the world of agriculture, plus all of today's entertainment. 

Deadly rabbit virus shuts bunny displays

BBC Radio Cornwall

View more on twitter

Rabbit owners in Cornwall are being urged to take extra care following further outbreaks of a deadly virus.  

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease has killed hundreds of rabbits in Devon, and rabbit shows at the Royal Cornwall Show last month and today's Stithians Show have been cancelled.

House prices 'eight and nine times average salaries'

Carys Edwards, Business & Industry Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

House prices in some rural parts of Devon are now up to nine times the local average salary, and up to eight times in Cornwall, according to new figures.


These compare to a national average of 6.84 times local incomes, the National Housing Federation said.

Strandings team to carry out whale post-mortem exam

BBC Radio Cornwall

A team from the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme at the Zoological Society of London is on its way to carry out a post-mortem examination on the body of a whale stranded on a Cornish beach.

Whale carcass

The 40ft-long female was discovered in the shallows of Perranporth beach on Sunday. It's thought the examination will be carried out when the tide has gone out.