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  1. Motorists in Exeter are being warned to expect disruption in the city centre today after a major fire yesterday
  2. The family of Katherine Hooper who jumped off Haytor with her eldest son have spoken publicly for the first time about the tragedy
  3. Puffin numbers on Lundy have rocketed, 10 years after the island was declared rat free
  4. Jess Glynne, Rudimental and Example are the headline acts at MTV Crashes Plymouth, which starts today
  5. Updates on Thursday 28 July 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Devon have finished for the day, but we'll be back at 08:00 on Friday 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.

Residents win with bid for public land

BBC Spotlight

Parcels of public land in Exeter's Stoke Hill area have been purchased by a Community Association for £1,500.

They had been put up for auction by the Public Open Spaces Charitable Trust and residents had raised concerns developers were going to buy the land and build on it.


'Nobody wants to be scalded' says GWR in coffee cup spat

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

Rail firm GWR has defended its actions after refusing Green Party leader Natalie Bennett a coffee in her reusable cup.


It said: "Staff serve hot drinks on board trains moving at up to 125mph into cups designed for our coffee machines, and subsequently covered with a plastic lid, to reduce the risk of injury to both staff and passengers. Nobody wants to be scolded (sic) on a railway journey. 

"We are however deeply committed to protecting the environment and at present recycle 69% of our waste; are committed to improving this to 75% by March next year and incorporate the Sustainable Rail Principles into our own sustainability strategy."

Ms Bennett tweeted after the incident on a Plymouth to Truro train: "@GWRHelp please remove directive that your train staff must refuse to serve coffee in customers' reusable cups #pointlesswaste".

Exeter sign Sweeney on permanent deal

BBC Sport

Exeter sign Pierce Sweeney on a permanent deal after the 1931 Fund contributes £15,000 towards the defender's wages.

Pierce Sweeney
Getty Images

Video big screen test for Plymouth University

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

Plymouth University has started showing videos on a giant screen which it was told initially it could show only stills.

Previously only still images could be shown on the screen

“The university was granted planning permission in April for an 18-month trial to allow full motion (moving) images on its big screen," said a university spokesman.

The university spent nearly £300,000 on the giant video screen in North Hill despite being told it could not broadcast video.

Planners granted permission for the project providing only still pictures were used, as the site is visible from two major roads and could distract drivers.

Inquiry after disabled boy left on bus

BBC News England

An inquiry has started after a seven-year-old boy with severe learning difficulties is left on a school bus all day.

Mayfield School
Google Maps

Police appeal after teen injured in Teignmouth

BBC Radio Devon

Police are appealing for witnesses after a teenager was injured in Bitton Avenue, Teignmouth.

The woman, who was walking alone at about 20:00 on Monday, was approached from behind by a man who attempted to steal her handbag, knocking her to the floor, police said.

Following a struggle, the suspect left empty handed in the direction of Park Hill. The 17-year-old suffered a shoulder injury.

Big wave surfer Andrew Cotton explores Ireland for huge wave

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

Professional big wave surfer Andrew Cotton has been exploring the west coast of Ireland for a giant wave which he thinks is as big as any in the world.

Andrew Cotton
Red Bull
Andrew Cotton
Red Bull

“I've been dreaming about this wave for years, always been watching it from a distance and just wondering until 2013 when [we] missioned out on a very cold January morning,” said Cotton, from Braunton.

Red Bull filmed his search for the wave which Cotton believes ranks among the biggest ever surfed.

"It hasn't been an easy mission and you don't always get what you want," he said. “This place is gnarly, it's remote, isolated and extremely dangerous,” he said.

Andrew Cotton
Red Bull

Fire aftermath keeps Exeter roads closed

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

Roads in Exeter city centre continue to be closed as firefighters deal with the aftermath of a blaze which ripped through the Richer Sounds store on Sidwell Street.

Roads are closed in the centre of Exeter

The B3212 Western Way in the city is closed at St Anne's Roundabout. There's congestion on York Road to the Longbrook Street junction and to the Summerland Street junction. 

Sidwell Street between York Road and B3212 Western Way is also affected.

Lloyds cuts a further 3,000 jobs and doubles branch closure plan


As Lloyds accelerates its job-cutting scheme, axing a further 3,000 roles, even as it reported a 101% increase in pre-tax profits, BBC News looks at the areas affected by bank closures. And as we all know, there's been a few across the South West.

View more on twitter

New treatment room for lymphoedema opens

A new treatment room for lymphoedema has opened at North Devon District Hospital.

Lymphoedema treatement room
North Devon District Hospital

Lymphoedema is when the lymphatic system, a network of vessels and glands responsible for helping to maintain the balance of fluid within the body, is not working correctly. Fluid then builds up within tissues and causes the affected area to swell.

Rosemary De Noronha, a patient of the lymphoedema service, said: “The new room allows me to take control and help myself with my treatment."

Police prepare for MTV Crashes as thousands arrive on the Hoe

MTV Crashes star is 'unwell' on day of the big show

Plymouth Herald

A member of one of the star MTV Crashes Plymouth acts has tweeted saying he is "not well" on the big day.

Fire crews remain at site of city blaze as cordons reduced

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

Two fire engines remain at the scene of a major fire in Exeter, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has said.

One is from Danes Castle and the other from Middlemoor. Earlier this morning an aerial platform was used at the rear of the building to "tackle hot spots", the service said. 

A structural engineer also attended to assess the building and liaise with police.

View more on twitter

Rain to clear with brighter skies to follow

David Braine, Weather Forecaster

Cloud and outbreaks of rain will clear away eastwards early afternoon. 

This will be followed by brighter skies, with some isolated showers. Feeling pleasant in any sunshine. Maximum temperature: 22 Deg C (72 Deg F).


Forty life-sized painted rhinos to be released

Forty life-sized painted rhinos will be released on Saturday in streets, parks and open spaces in Exeter and the English Riviera.

Organiser Pippa Craddock said: "There are rhinos created by schools and community groups and rhinos painted by professional artists."

The Great Big Rhino Project has been organised by Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in aid of Critically Endangered wild rhinos. After the trail ends there will be a grand charity auction at which rhinos will be sold off to raise funds.

Rhino trail
Paignton Zoo

Green party boss told she cannot use own cup

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

The leader of the Green Party was outraged when told she was not allowed to use her reusable coffee cup on a train journey in the South West.

View more on twitter

In response, GWR replied: "Hi Natalie. Risk assessments are set for certain cups and machines, so we would use our own cup. There is of course nothing stopping you from transferring over if you wish to."

Rise in people begging in Exeter

Harriet Bradshaw


There were almost 200 recorded cases of begging and vagrancy in Exeter last year, that's double the number four years ago, the BBC can reveal.

Traders in the city have complained about people sleeping in shop doorways. Now the police and other agencies are working with the rough-sleeping community to wake them up ahead of business hours. 

St Petrock's - which helps homeless people - has opened its doors early to help them and offer support.

Police and agencies waking homeless people

Residents evacuated in wake of Exeter fire

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

Residents living near the site of a ferocious fire in Exeter city centre have been evacuated, the fire service said.

Richer Sounds fire

Police have advised residents and businesses in the area to keep their windows and doors closed for the foreseeable future.

A major incident was declared after the blaze took hold in the basement of the Richer Sounds shop on Sidwell Street on Wednesday afternoon.

Roads closed in Exeter following fire

BBC Travel

A number of roads have been closed in the centre of Exeter following a major fire.

The road closures include:

  • St Anne's roundabout
  • Western Way
  • Sidwell Street
  • Summerland Street
  • Blackboy Road
  • Old Tiverton Road

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said people should avoid the area, keep their windows closed and look for alternative routes in and out of the city centre "for the foreseeable future".

Exeter fire

Plymouth's Harvey signs for Wrexham

BBC Sport

Tyler Harvey
Dave Rowntree

Plymouth Argyle forward Tyler Harvey has been signed by Wrexham on a one-year deal.

Harvey, 21, scored five goals in 50 league appearances for the Pilgrims but rejected the offer of a new contract.

Puppet to lead Pride procession

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

A 10ft (3m) puppet will lead the Pride procession in Totnes on 3 September.

Pride procession 2015

Social enterprise Proud2Be has teamed up with ROC Creative - a charity which supports people with learning disabilities - to construct the puppet for the annual event to celebrate diversity in the community.

Witnesses sought after man left with broken jaw

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Police are appealing for witnesses after an assault that left a man with a broken jaw.

The incident took place between 02:30 and 02:50 on Sunday in Queens Street, Bideford.

The 20-year-old local man was left unconscious following the assault. It is believed that he was assaulted by an older man.

Det Con Adrian Wroe said: “We are appealing for witnesses and would like to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time. There were a large number of people in the area who were leaving Caesars Nightclub in nearby Jubilee Square, we believe that a number of these people may have witnessed the fight or could hold information vital to the investigation.”

Extra police for MTV Crashes Plymouth

Louise Walter

BBC Spotlight

Devon and Cornwall Police say there will be extra bobbies on the beat tonight and tomorrow in Plymouth to ensure everyone has a good time at MTV Crashes. 

The two-day music festival is returning to the city with Jess Glynne, Rudimental and Example headlining the event.

Police will be working outside of the MTV compound unless the organisers ask for assistance.

MTV Crashes Plymouth

Hundreds queue for Bideford store opening

North Devon Journal

Hundreds of people queued in the drizzle for hours to be one of the first people through the door of the new Aldi store in Bideford.

Petition to Devon County Council to protect school land

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

Parents are today presenting a petition backed by some 200 parents, teachers and the local community to Devon County Council to ask them to step in to protect "precious school land" from future sale and development.

The land, currently owned by Devon County Council, will be transferred to Alphington Primary School in the autumn as the school joins three other primary schools to form a Multi-Academy Trust.

Google Maps

Diana Moore, a mother to two children at the school started the petition after her request to the governors to place an educational covenant on the land was initially refused.

"An educational covenant would protect it, allowing full use for school purposes including building new classrooms as necessary but prevent its sale as housing." 

MTV Crashes Plymouth starts today

BBC Radio Devon

Jess Glynne, Rudimental and Example are the headline acts at MTV Crashes Plymouth, which starts today.

The two-day music festival is returning to the city. Last year a crowd of more than 30,000 people attended the event on the Hoe.

The city council said it will be one of the music events of the summer, showcasing Plymouth on music TV channels in more than 35 countries.

Jess Glynne

Puffin numbers on Lundy Island rocket

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Puffin numbers on Lundy have rocketed, 10 years after the island was declared rat free.

More than 300 birds have been counted on the island this year, from a low of only five birds 10 years ago.

Helen Booker, from the RSPB, said: "Ten years ago their population had reached such a low level we worried whether they would survive." She added it was "really exciting" to see them doing so well.


New home is sought in Exeter for mental health charity drop-in service

Exeter Express & Echo

Users of a mental health organisation in Exeter and East Devon have launched a petition calling for it to be investigated following concerns over how the service is being delivered.  

Fire spreads in Plymouth suburb

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

A fire which started in a shed has spread to a three-storey building in Tamerton Foliot on the outskirts of Plymouth.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has launched the aerial ladder platform and three fire crews to deal with the blaze thought to have broken out shortly before 08:45 today.

There are no reports of any injuries.

Latest headlines in Devon

BBC Radio Devon

  • Police are warning of another 24 hours of traffic disruption in Exeter after yesterday's major fire
  • The family of Katherine Hooper, 24, who jumped off Haytor three years ago with her oldest son have spoken publicly for the first time about the tragedy
  • Reports to the police of begging and vagrancy in Exeter's city centre more than doubled last year, compared with four years ago, with almost 200 cases recorded.

Diversions in place following fire in Exeter

Police are warning of another 24 hours of traffic disruption in Exeter after yesterday's major fire.

Motorists have been asked to avoid the area around Sidwell Street. No-one was injured in the blaze.

On public transport, Stagecoach has offered information about the diversions below.

View more on twitter

Britain in Bloom competition judging begins

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Judging begins today for the finalists in this year's Britain In Bloom competition with 72 towns and villages across the UK up for awards.

Judges will be in Exeter, Exmouth and Beer on 1 August.

Each finalist will be awarded a Gold, Silver-Gilt, Silver or Bronze medal. The results will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony in Birmingham on 14 October.

Ordeal of seven-year-old Torquay 'bus alone' boy

Torquay Herald Express

An inquiry has been launched after a seven-year-old boy with severe learning difficulties who attends Mayfield School in Torquay was left on a school bus all day.

Exeter council condemns hate crimes

BBC Radio Devon

Exeter City Council has passed a motion condemning hate crimes.

The city authority said all three major parties supported a motion proposed by the Labour Group "reaffirming unequivocal condemnation of any form of behaviour that is racist, xenophobic, incites hatred, discriminates against or harms members of our community". 


Proposer Cllr Lewis Keen said he put forward the motion "due to a significant rise across the country, and this has been reflected in concern from many residents, who have contacted me and my fellow councillors". 

He added: "By supporting this motion we can continue to reassure our fellow residents that this council, this city, does not accept bigotry."

Latest travel in Devon: Western Way closed after building fire

BBC Travel

  • Western Way remains closed after a building fire at Old Tiverton Road in Exeter
  • There's very slow traffic on the A376 Exmouth Road northbound in Exton between the Exton Lane junction and the B3179 junction. In the roadworks area
  •  There's very slow traffic on the A379 Bridge Road in Exeter near the Glasshouse Lane junction. In the roadworks area
  • If you're travelling to Culdrose Air Day at RNAS Culdrose. Delays are expected on the A3083, A394 and other routes