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Summary

  1. Fifteen fire engines are called to a blaze in Exeter city centre
  2. A neighbourhood policing newsletter claiming children could be "vulnerable to exploitation" by fairground workers has been withdrawn
  3. A missing man has been found after a major search of the Plymouth area which involved the police helicopter and RNLI lifeboats
  4. Plans to build a student block are under review after it's thought an underground Victorian bunker may have been found on the site
  5. The first ever all-female crew to row the Atlantic from west to east has arrived in Falmouth
  6. Updates on Wednesday 27 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 Thursday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather. 

Don't forget Spotlight on BBC One later. There will also be news through the night on your BBC Local Radio station.

Latest weather: Dry through the night, rain on Thursday

David Braine, Weather Forecaster

It'll stay largely dry through the night, with some clear spells developing before cloud thickens from the west, with perhaps some rain by dawn. Minimum temperature: 13 Deg C (55F).

Weather
BBC

Thursday will be rather cloudy with outbreaks of rain and drizzle through the day. It'll turn drier into the late afternoon, but be mostly cloudy. Maximum temperature: 21C (70F).

Latest headlines in Devon and Cornwall

Andrew Segal

Local Live

  • Fifteen fire appliances from across Devon and Somerset are called to a shop blaze in Exeter city centre
  • The former partner of a mother who jumped to her death on Dartmoor with her five-year-old son is spared jail after admitting threatening another girlfriend with a knife
  • Tamar Bridge managers say a man on a mobility scooter who was on the wrong side of the road was a danger to himself and other vehicles
  • The Bishop of Truro tells church leaders and congregations in a pastoral letter "to remain alert, not alarmed" after the murder of a Catholic priest in France
  • Plymouth's Derriford Hospital says it will have extra staff in place to deal with any medical situations as a result of the MTV Crashes event in the city this weekend
  • The first ever all-female crew to row the Atlantic from west to east celebrates after arriving in Falmouth

Wrong-way mobility scooter driver in 'obviously dangerous manoeuvre'

BBC Radio Devon

A mobility scooter driver was "obviously dangerous" to himself and other road users after going through no entry signs and driving on the wrong side of the Tamar Bridge earlier this week, bridge managers say.

Tamar Bridge
BBC

The man, thought to be in his mid-80s, was pulled over by police after driving the scooter on the bridge at about 17:15 on Monday. Cars were reported to be swerving around the scooter. No arrest was made and no one was injured.

Tamar Crossing general manager David List said: "He came the wrong way down a slip road in the rush hour, down through two no entry signs, and went against red crosses on the road [denoting which direction that lane was being used for].

"He eventually crossed over to the right side of the road. and ended up on the A38. It was an obviously dangerous manoeuvre, not just for him, but also for other roads users, who had to take evasive action."

Fairground sex warning evidence 'largely anecdotal'

Lynne French, BBC News Online

Police have admitted information that led them to produce a newsletter claiming children could be "vulnerable to exploitation" by fairground workers is "largely anecdotal".

Leaflet. Devon and Cornwall Police
Devon and Cornwall Police

The letter, sent to Plympton residents by Devon and Cornwall Police, said perpetrators could come into contact with young females at fairs. It has since been withdrawn. One funfair operator said the comments were "incredibly unfair". 

Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Fun fairs and other large social gatherings of young people have historically led to some intelligence suggesting those attending may be at risk of exploitation. This intelligence is largely anecdotal and the message is general safety advice for parents and those young people attending such events."

Fire-hit store staff 'all OK'

View more on twitter

A major part of Exeter city centre has been closed and a number of buildings evacuated after the fire broke out in the basement of the shop. 

The company also Tweeted that its priorities were "ensuring our staff are ok & that the building is sound".

Atlantic rowers: The crew

Andrew Segal

Local Live

The first ever all-female crew to row the Atlantic from west to east arrived in Falmouth this morning. 

The five women, on board the Rannoch Women's Challenge boat, Liberty, left New York for the 3,000-mile journey on 7 June. 

Who are the intrepid rowers?

Rowers
BBC
  • Guin Batten (skipper, left): Former professional rower who won a silver medal in Sydney in 2000. The 49-year-old also holds the record for the fastest row across the English Channel 
  • Molly Brown (second left): now the youngest person to row this route across the Atlantic, aged 20. Has competed for Team GB at youth level. Studies Oceanography at Southampton University 
  • Mary Sutherland (centre): Offshore sailor and racer, with several Fastnet and Atlantic crossings under her belt 
  • Alex Holt (second right): Outdoor enthusiast, skiing and water-skiing instructor. Ran the London Marathon in 2014 
  • Gilly Mara (right): Marathon kayaker and former GB dragonboat racer 

Helicopters arrive for RNAS Culdrose Air Day

View more on twitter

BBC Local Live will be at the show on Thursday, bringing you the best of the sights.

Bishop tells church leaders and congregations to 'remain alert, not alarmed'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

The Bishop of Truro has told church leaders and their congregations "to remain alert, not alarmed" after the murder of a Catholic priest in France killed while conducting morning mass in his church. 

Writing in a pastoral letter, the Right Reverend Tim Thornton, said the Anglican Church condemned violence "wherever it happens and the wicked nature of this latest atrocity is shocking". He said: "At this time we need to ensure we continue to extend hospitality to others and to work hard to ensure we listen to all members of our community."

He also said that there was "no current intelligence to suggest any attack was being planned of this nature in this country". But he added: "It makes sense for all church leaders to review their security plans and to encourage their flock to be vigilant. Any suspicious behaviour should be reported immediately".

Fifteen fire appliances called to shop blaze

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Fifteen fire appliances have been fighting a shop blaze in Exeter city centre, Devon and Somerset Fire Service says.

Exeter fire scene
BBC

Crews from across south and east Devon, plus one from Wellington in Somerset, were called to the Richer Sounds store in Sidwell Street after the alarm was raised at about 13:45.

Neighbouring properties have been evacuated, roads closed and diversions put in place.

Councillor writes open letter over Lelant road problems

BBC Radio Cornwall

A Cornwall councillor has written an open letter to the Highways Department at Cornwall Council, asking it to sort out problems at Lelant in St Ives.

In his letter, St Ives West Councillor Andrew Mitchell said £250,000 of changes that added a cycle lane to the road had caused queues on the road to Hayle.

Eco-community planning permission 'sends out a message'

Kirk England

BBC Radio Devon

An eco-community in Devon getting planning permission to live there permanently "sends out a message", one of its members says. 

Landmatters
BBC

Originally there were strong objections to the Landmatters community near Totnes, where people live in dwellings such as yurts, grow their own food and generate their own power. 

It has got permanent permission to be there after a 13-year legal battle after the community was initially refused retrospective planning permission. About 250 people live there.

Simeon Warbuton
BBC

Simeon Warbuton, who lives there with his family, said: "I think it sends out a message that this way of life is successful, sustainable, part of the society in which we live, and which will become a more important part of our future."

Man hid neighbour's body under tarpaulin and used his flat to grow cannabis

Plymouth Herald

A callous man was jailed today after he concealed his elderly neighbour's body under tarpaulin in a yard - so he could use the Royal Navy veteran's flat to grow cannabis.

Fire breaks out in city centre shop basement

Harriet Bradshaw

BBC Radio Devon

A major part of Exeter city centre is closed and a number of buildings evacuated after a fire broke out near St Anne's roundabout. 

Exeter fire
BBC

Emergency services were called to the Richer Sounds hifi store after the blaze broke out in the basement, police said.

Students from Exeter University were led from adjacent buildings to other accommodation and a number of roads have been closed as a result of billowing smoke. 

DAB radio problems in Redruth

DAB signals for all radio stations are suffering disruption in the Redruth area of Cornwall because of planned engineering work over the next two hours.

You can get radio reception advice here.

Yealmpton Show: A last-minute preen

City centre shop fire closes roads

BBC Radio Devon

A number of roads have been closed and diversions put in place because of a shop fire in Exeter city centre, police have Tweeted.

Sidwell Street, Pic: Google
Google

Hi-fi retailer Richer Sounds is believed to be on fire in Sidwell Street, and staff have been evacuated from the building.

Officers said the fire had led "to a number of local road closures/diversions" and people should avoid the area.

Exeter streetlights to be turned off overnight

Andrew Segal

Local Live

About 780 streetlights will be switched off overnight in some residential streets in Topsham and the St Loyes area of Exeter from 1 August, Devon County Council says.

The authority said the lights would be turned off from 00:30-05:30 as part of an "on-going programme to reduce costs and carbon emissions across the county".

It added that feedback from a city-wide consultation ensured that "we are able to maintain a network of busy ‘walking home routes’ which will remain lit all night, along with main roads".

City centre road closed as fire crews tackle building blaze

BBC Radio Devon

A road in Exeter city centre is closed because of a building fire.

The electrical store Richer Sounds is believed to be on fire and staff have been evacuated from the building.

The B3212 Western Way in the city is closed and there's queuing traffic at St Anne's Roundabout.

The closure is also affecting Sidwell Street between York Road and B3212 Western Way.  

Atlantic rowers: Been there, done that, got the T-shirt ... or gilet

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Guin Batten and Molly Brown popped into BBC Radio Cornwall to talk about being part of the first ever all-female crew to finish rowing the Atlantic from west to east.

Guin Batten and Milly Brown
BBC

They were two of five crew on board the Rannoch Women's Challenge boat, Liberty, which arrived in Falmouth this morning. They left New York for the 3,000-mile trek on 7 June.  

Map
BBC

They'd only been on shore a few hours by the time they got to the studios, but the moment was obviously prepared for as they sported gilets proclaiming: "I conquered the Atlantic".

Police called to bizarre protest outside Exeter salon after 'bad haircut'

Exeter Express & Echo

Police were called to a bizarre protest outside a salon launched by a woman who was unhappy with her haircut.

Fairground sex warning withdrawn by police

Lynne French, BBC News Online

A neighbourhood policing newsletter claiming children could be "vulnerable to exploitation" by fairground workers has been withdrawn.

The letter, sent to Plympton residents by Devon and Cornwall Police, said perpetrators could come into contact with young females at fairs. 

Plympton neighbourhood policing newsletter
BBC

Funfair operator Anderton and Rowland said people's safety was its number one concern, adding that it was "incredibly unfair" for police to single out funfairs without any evidence or prosecutions. 

In a statement, police said fun fairs and other large social gatherings of young people had "historically led to some intelligence suggesting those attending may be at risk of exploitation".

Mostly dry and cloudy afternoon

BBC Weather

Any residual patchy drizzle and low cloud from this morning will generally clear to leave a largely dry, but rather cloudy afternoon. However, the cloud may break on high ground to give some occasional sunny spells. Maximum temperature: 21 Deg C (70 Deg F) 

Weather
BBC
View more on twitter

Latest travel in Devon and Cornwall

BBC Travel

  • In Devon, there are reports of an incident in Exeter on Clyst Road, near Old Rydon Lane 
  • In Bere Alston, The Down is blocked due to an incident between Woolacombe Road and Pentillie Road 
  • Station Road in Broadclyst is blocked near Sandy Lane due to an incident 
  • There are reports of an incident on Halcyon Road in Newton Abbot, near Abbotsbury Road 
  • In Plymouth, Lockyer Street is closed, as is Hoe Road between Lambhay Hill and Maderia Road, due to an event 
  • In Cornwall, there are reports the traffic lights have failed on Holmbush Road in St Austell 
  • There are reports of queuing traffic on the A39 between Truro and Falmouth, from Perranarworthal to the Treluswell roundabout 
  • Rail company GWR says services are now running normally between St Erth and St Ives, adding: "Apologies for the disruption on this route"

Devon Debates: Should mobility scooter drivers pass a test?

Vic Morgan

BBC Radio Devon

On Devon Debates today: After a man on a mobility scooter was pulled over by police on the A38, should their drivers have to pass a test? 

Also, have you ever got a parking ticket in a private car park? Was it fair? 

Call in on 0345 3011034.

Victorian bunker puts accommodation plans under review

BBC Radio Cornwall

A controversial plan to build a student block on the Ocean Bowl site in Falmouth is under review after it's thought an underground Victorian bunker has been found at the site.

Falmouth Ocean Bowl. Pic: Google
Google

There's currently a planning application for a five-storey student residence attached to a seven-storey tower block at the site. Campaigners argue that the town isn't equipped to deal with more students.

In a statement, Historic England said the building would not be suggested for listing as it appeared to have been built in the 20th Century. But, it added that it did have concerns about the development as the proposed residences did not suit the character of the town.

Heading to Bath Spa? Delays after person was hit by a train

Train delays
GWR/Twitter

Missing man found 'safe and well' after major search

BBC Radio Devon

A man who was reported missing in the Plymouth area has been found after a major search by the police helicopter and RNLI lifeboats.

David Saunders, 63, was found "safe and well" just after 12:00, Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed.

David Saunders
Devon and Cornwall Police
View more on twitter

Latest headlines in Devon and Cornwall

Andrew Segal

Local Live

  • Plans to build a student block on the Ocean Bowl site in Falmouth are under review after it's thought an underground Victorian bunker is on site
  • A large-scale search takes place in the Plymouth area for a missing 68-year-old man
  • Cornwall Council appeals for cash from the government to build a bridge across a railway line to link two developments in Newquay
  • People living in an eco-community in Devon get planning permission to live there permanently after a 13-year legal battle
  • The first ever all-female crew to row the Atlantic from west to east arrives in Falmouth  

The first ever all-female crew to row the Atlantic from west to east celebrate in Falmouth

BBC Spotlight

All-female crew arrive in Falmouth after Atlantic row

Latest travel across Devon and Cornwall

BBC Travel

  • In Bere Alston we've had reports of an incident on The Down between Woolacombe Road and Pentillie Road
  • The road is just passable on West Hill in Wadebridge near the Trevanson Road junction, because of an accident
  • On the B3284 in Perranporth the road is partially blocked, and busy but moving between the Bolingey Road junction and the A3075 junction, because of an accident
  • On the A386 Outland Road in Plymouth is busy but moving inbound from Manadon Roundabout to Milehouse Junction

Bunker down: Could underground chamber hit university accommodation plans?

Laurence Reed

BBC Radio Cornwall

Could what's believed to be a Victorian bunker discovered in the heart of historic Falmouth scupper controversial plans to expand accommodation for the town's university?

Also, concern is raised by the NSPCC that children even in remote places such as Cornwall could be radicalised. The news comes after an increase in terrorism-related killings. 

Call in on 01872 222222.

Games on for kidney transplant patients

BBC Radio Devon

Seven people who have received life-saving kidney transplants at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth are heading to Liverpool today to compete in the British Transplant Games

The two women and five men will be taking part in events including swimming, tennis, high jump and cycling. The hospital said some of the competitors couldn't even walk across the room before their operation. 

Last year, the South West team won 10 gold, nine silver and six bronze medals.

Atlantic rowers: All-female crew finishes 'through hard work and determination'

BBC Radio Cornwall

The first ever all-female crew who finished rowing the Atlantic from west to east earned victory "through hard work and determination", the boat's skipper says.

Liberty. Pic: Rannoch Women's Challenge
Rannoch Women's Challenge

The five women on board the Rannoch Women's Challenge boat, Liberty, arrived in Falmouth this morning after leaving New York for the 3,000-mile trek on 7 June.

Guin Batten
BBC

Skipper Guin Batten said: "The real challenge is that it's incessant. The ocean will deal you an ace one day and take away six aces the next." 

Land popular with walkers and cyclists to be auctioned off

BBC Spotlight

Sections of public land used by dog walkers, residents, cyclists and children are being auctioned off in the South West and the rest of the UK.

Stoke Valley
BBC

In Exeter, two lots are going under the hammer tomorrow, including parcels of Stoke Valley. 

A community action group which volunteers to maintain a green corridor, is concerned it could be developed. But the charitable trust which owns the land said it was to be sold with all the current restrictions in place. Local councils have ruled out buying the land.

Firkin brothers jailed for killing couple 'could be freed'

Plymouth Herald

Two brothers jailed for killing a couple in Cornwall could be freed after the key witness in their trial was also convicted of murder.