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Summary

  1. Police left with '£20m hole' after losing Morrisons legal battle
  2. Child abuse inquiry hears evidence from people from Cornwall
  3. A man has been injured with a hammer in an "unprovoked attack" in Plymouth, police say
  4. Primary school shut after bug outbreak hits dozens of pupils
  5. Missing woman's car found in north Devon
  6. 'Fog nails' introduced after spread of major city fire was stopped
  7. Torquay United Football Club new ownership confirmed
  8. Village Post Office run by the same family for 90 years closes
  9. Updates on Wednesday 1 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Andrew Segal

All times stated are UK

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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: Rain clearing

David Braine

Weather Forecaster

We'll see rain clear away to the north-east tonight, leaving mostly dry conditions overnight and some clearer spells. It'll be very windy at first, though the winds will slowly ease overnight. Minimum temperature: 3C (37F).

Weather
BBC

Thursday will be largely fine and dry, though some may see an isolated shower at first. However, the skies will gradually turn cloudy through the afternoon, accompanied by strengthening winds for a time. Maximum temperature: 11C (52F).

It's elementary: Stephen Fry reads the Sherlock Holmes collection

BBC Entertainment and Arts

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Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has, of course, several famous Devon links - not least of all The Hound of the Baskervilles, arguably his most famous story, being set on Dartmoor.

But Doyle himself was also a frequent visitor to the county, and even practiced medicine in Plymouth. He lived in Elliot Terrace on the Hoe while working in Durnford Street in the early 1880s.

Female mongooses 'less likely to lose litters after gang fights'

Julie Skentelbery

BBC Radio Cornwall

Mongooses. Pic: Harry Marshall
Harry Marshall

Banded mongooses may fight against each other in gangs, but, intriguingly, pregnant females are less likely to lose their litters after such conflicts, according to scientists at the University of Exeter.

Researchers, who studied a population of banded mongooses in Uganda, found that "females were significantly less likely to abort their litter if their group was involved in a fight with another group during gestation".

Lead author Dr Faye Thompson, from the university's Penryn campus in Cornwall, admitted it was a "puzzling result".

She said: "Pregnant females could be finding some way to maintain their pregnancy, perhaps to offset mortality from fighting and make their group bigger and more competitive in the future."

Cob house collapses in east Devon

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Collpased cob house. Pic: Ryan Wilshire
Ryan Wilshire

A house which is believed to be made of cob has collapsed near Kenton in east Devon.

No one is thought to have been hurt in the incident in South Town, but it has caused problems on the A379, which goes past it.

Scaffolding has been put in place to try and stabilise the rest of the structure. 

The building material sees earth mixed with water, sand and straw.

New society to manage Penzance's Jubilee Pool

Andrew Segal

Local Live

The management of Jubilee Pool in Penzance has been transferred from Cornwall Council to what's being called a "community benefit society". 

Jubilee Pool
Andrew Segal

The Friends of Jubilee Pool welcomed the move, saying the new society would operate it "on the community's behalf and ensure it is an affordable amenity for one and all".

Although the society will include a representative from Cornwall Council and Penzance Town Council on its governing board, it is not certain what the town council's full involvement will be in terms of funding or management.

It was reported in January that the town council was increasing its council tax precept by almost 50% to fund the pool, as well as public toilets, parks and public spaces.

Nigel Pengelly, vice chairman of the finance committee for Penzance Town Council, said the authority wished the pool "every success in the future and it's good to secure such an iconic building in Penzance for future generations to come".

The Friends of Jubilee Pool said the council was expected to handle funding raised through council tax, but that the pool also had the potential to finance itself.

Police's '£20m budget shortfall' after Morrisons deal collpase: Analysis

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Devon and Cornwall Police being left with a £20m hole in their budget after losing a legal battle with supermarket giant Morrisons is a significant setback for the force. 

The retailer had signed a contract in 2012 to build a major new store on land at police headquarters, at Middlemoor in Exeter. But Morrisons failed to begin building work on its store, triggering a legal battle, which the retailer won. 

Police light
BBC

The money was earmarked to build a new police station and custody suite at Middlemoor, replacing the ageing Heavitree Road police station in the city centre.

Senior officers are facing more budget cuts this year, on top of six years of large spending reductions.

Another sizeable hole in their accounts will only add to their financial worries.

Woman's body found in public toilets in Dartmouth

BBC Radio Devon

Police searching for a missing woman in Dartmouth have found a body in public toilets.

A 35-year-old woman was reported missing last night.

Emergency services were called to Coronation Park at about 10:00 where a woman was pronounced deceased at the scene after paramedics were unable to revive her. 

Police said the woman's next of kin had been informed. A cordon is in place while scenes of crime officers carry out inquiries.

Rival gang mongooses 'may mate despite fights'

Julie Skentelbery

BBC Radio Cornwall

Mongooses. Pic: Harry Marshall
Harry Marshall

Banded mongooses may fight against each other in gangs, but sometimes males and females from opposing groups will mate with each other, according to scientists at the University of Exeter.

Researchers, who studied a population of banded mongooses in Uganda, said rival packs "all rush forward and fighting breaks out, with some individuals chasing each other into bushes".

However, despite the occasional mating by members of rivals gangs, lead author Dr Faye Thompson, from the university's Penryn campus in Cornwall, said: "The fighting is costly to both individuals and groups. Individuals are more likely to die and litters are less likely to survive to emergence if their group is involved in an aggressive encounter with a rival."

Recycling centre skip fire 'not suspicious'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Exeter recycling fire
BBC

A fire at a recycling centre in Exeter is not believed to be suspicious, firefighters say

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said it was alerted to the fire in Exton Road, in the Marsh Barton area, at about 09:10. 

Two fire crews put out the blaze in a "large refuse skip". Witnesses nearby reported large plumes of smoke.

Police dog Rosie looks like a high flyer

Children getting secondary school first choice falls

BBC Radio Cornwall

The number of children in Cornwall getting their first choice of secondary school has fallen slightly from last year. 

Cornwall Council said 97.8% of children would be going to their first choice school in September this year, compared with nearly 99% last year.

Penzance care home for people with dementia rated 'inadequate'

BBC Radio Cornwall

A care home in Penzance housing people who have dementia, as well as physical and mental health problems, has been rated as inadequate overall by the Care Quality Commission. 

Tolverth House, owned by Vijay Enterprises, accommodates up to 14 people. The report said the home was not safe because proper rules on recruiting staff were not being followed and the manager had too little time to spend at Tolverth because he was also managing another home 100 miles away. 

Inspectors said although the home was generally clean, there was a strong smell of cat urine in the building. 

Residents and their relatives were positive about the staff - most saying they were friendly and caring. But the report said allegations of abuse had not been properly investigated or followed up.

Stonehouse Barracks to be transformed into 400 homes and a swanky hotel

Plymouth Herald

Stonehouse Barracks is to be transformed into 400 new homes and a high-quality hotel, according to the proposed blueprint for future development in Plymouth.

Flood alert for north Devon coast

Flood alert. Pic: Environment Agency
Environment Agency

A flood alert has been issued by the Environment Agency for the north Devon coast.

The alert means people should "be prepared".

The agency said flooding was possible for coastal and tidal areas between Hartland Point and Lynmouth, including the Taw Torridge Estuary, over the high tide on Wednesday evening. 

Low-lying coastal land and roads would be affected first, it added.

Fly-tipped rubbish found in woods

Laurence Reed

BBC Radio Cornwall

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More rubbish has been discovered in Idless woods, near Truro.

I found metal, wood and what looked like asbestos sheeting dumped in the area when I was out there yesterday evening.

Cornwall Council said it was doing its best to tackle the problem, including using number plate recognition cameras that work in the dark.

Tyres on 'numerous vehicles maliciously damaged' in Torpoint

Andrew Segal

Local Live

More than 20 tyres on several vehicles have been damaged overnight in Torpoint in Cornwall, police say.

Torpoint Police said on Facebook  a sharp implement was used to "maliciously pierce the tyre wall, rendering them useless" in the Trevithick Avenue area of the town. 

Officers have appealed for witnesses, asking if anyone heard "anything suspicious between 22:00 last night and 04:00 this morning".

Anyone living in the Great Park area should also check their vehicles for any sign of damage, they added.

Missing woman's car found in north Devon

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Lauren Philips
Handout

A search for a missing woman led by Avon and Somerset Police has found her car in north Devon, officers say .

Twenty-six-year-old Lauren Philips has not been seen since Thursday 23 February, and failed to turn up to work in Bristol on Sunday. Officers said they were concerned for her welfare.

Police from the Devon and Cornwall force, a police helicopter, coastguards and the RNLI and the National Police Air Service have also been assisting in the search. Her car was located in Woolacombe on Tuesday.

Police said: "We’re particularly keen for bed & breakfast owners or hoteliers in and around the Woolacombe area to check whether she has booked in with them."

Ganging up: Mongooses draw battle lines during fights

Julie Skentelbery

BBC Radio Cornwall

View more on twitter

Gang warfare is not unique to humans, apparently banded mongooses do it too, according to scientists at the University of Exeter 

Researchers, who studied a population of banded mongooses in Uganda, said the causes of the ferocious fights were most common when females were receptive to breeding and when there was competition over food and territory. 

The fights often led to serious injury and even death. During conflicts, individuals raided dens and killed the pups of their neighbours, as well as males and females of rival groups mating with each other.

Lead author Dr Faye Thompson, from the university's Penryn campus in Cornwall, said: "These fights are very chaotic, with 20 or 30 mongooses on each side arranged in battle lines."

Primary school shut after bug outbreak hits more than a fifth of pupils

BBC Radio Devon

A Devon primary school has been closed after an outbreak of sickness and diarrhoea which has affected more than a fifth of its pupils, a council says.

Bovey Tracey Primary School. Pic: Google
Google

Devon County Council said Bovey Tracey Primary School would be shut on Wednesday and Thursday after 67 pupils and six members of staff - including the head teacher contracted the illness. The school has 294 students.

Deputy head Becky Forrest said: "We have been taking advice from Public Health on how to deal with this and we have ordered a deep clean of the premises from our contractors."

Village Post Office closure 'inevitable'

BBC Radio Cornwall

The closure of a Cornish village Post Office, which had been run by the same family for nearly 90 years, was "inevitable", staff say.

Paynters Lane End, at Illogan, near Pool, is one of many local post offices across Cornwall moving premises into a nearby shop. The Smale family, which has been running the site since 1928, won't be moving with it.

Caroline Smale
BBC

Caroline Smale (pictured) said: "We do have a decreasing customer base and footfall and they [the shop taking it on] are open longer hours than us, and it's the way that it's going.

"And, of course with online banking and everything online now, we are gradually losing business all the time." 

The Post Office said it had sincerely thanked the family for running the branch "for so many generations".

Cat 'shot by air rifle' in Axminster

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Police are investigating a cat being shot by an air rifle in Devon.

Officers said it was reported that the cat was struck by a pellet in the Cawley Road area of Axminster on Tuesday.

The RSPCA was also called in to assist with the incident.

New buyer sought for police HQ site

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Heavitree Road police station
BBC

The Devon and Cornwall police commissioner's office is seeking another buyer for the site of the force's headquarters after losing a legal battle with supermarket giant Morrisons.

The retailer had signed a contract in 2012 to build a major new store on land at police headquarters, at Middlemoor in Exeter. But it failed to begin building work, triggering a legal battle that the retailer won.

Money from the sale was earmarked to build a new police station and custody suite at Middlemoor, replacing the ageing Heavitree Road police station in the city centre.

The new police station is scheduled to open by 2020.

Driver in critical condition in hospital after car hits street light

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A car driver is in a critical but stable condition in hospital after a crash on the A39 in Falmouth, police say.

Officers said the 32-year-old man from Penryn sustained serious injuries when his Nissan GT-R left the road between the Ponsharden and Hillhead roundabouts and collided with a street light, went along the embankment and then went back on to the carriageway at about 18:40 on Tuesday.

He was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital near Truro before later being transferred to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. A front seat passenger was also taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital, but his injuries were not thought to be serious, police said.

The road was closed for three-and-a-half hours for an investigation.

Anniversary of HMS Exeter's sinking off Indonesia

BBC Radio Devon

It's the 75th anniversary of the sinking of HMS Exeter off the coast of Indonesia. 

The Devonport-built warship HMS Exeter was attacked in 1942 whilst searching for Japanese invasion forces. Her crew were picked up by Japanese destroyers and held as prisoners of war. 

Last year it was discovered that the wreck of the Exeter was missing from the sea bed .

Road patrol catches eight-point driver on mobile phone

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Penalties for using a phone at the wheel have doubled today from three from to six points, plus a £200 fine.

Latest weather: Cloudy with showers, but clearing later

BBC Weather

It will be cloudy with some scattered outbreaks of light rain or drizzle, but becoming brighter with some sunny periods developing later, along with a few showers.

It will also become windy as light, rather variable, winds become west or northwesterly and increase fresh to strong with gales around the coast. Maximum temperature: 10C (50F).

Weather
BBC

Tonight, it'll be mostly dry with some clear spells, apart from a few showers.

However, fresh to strong west to northwesterly winds will reach up to gale force around exposed coasts before easing later. Minimum temperature: 4C (39F).

Devon woman wins £1m on the Premium Bonds

BBC Radio Devon

Premium Bonds
NS&I

A woman from Devon has won £1m in this month's Premium Bonds draw, National Savings & Investments (NS&I) says.

She owned the maximum investment of bonds - £50,000 - and bought the winning one in January last year. 

She's the 12th person from Devon to win the top prize. And if that's inspired you to check to see if you've won, you should.

The oldest unclaimed prize in the county belongs to a woman from a draw in February 1965, which is worth £25. The highest unclaimed prizes included a £25,000 win from May 2014 for a man with just £20 invested, NS&I said.

Ilfracombe health scheme hopes to get spring in its step

Kirk England

BBC Radio Devon

A town with the lowest life expectancy in Devon is launching a new campaign to try to improve the health of people living there. 

Ilfracombe
BBC

Ilfracombe's poor figures are partly due to higher than average rates of heart and liver disease, organisers of the campaign say.

The Spring into Life scheme will offer local people free events and taster sessions this month to encourage them to live a happier, healthier life.

Most unlucky couple in Cornwall break three arms and then lose wheelie bin

Cornwall Live

Is this the most unlucky couple in Cornwall ? First they break three of their four arms on an ill-fated snowboarding holiday - only to come home and find their wheelie bin has disappeared.

Cornish Pirates re-sign prop Cowan-Dickie for 2017-18 season

BBC Sport

Tom Cowan-Dickie will return to Cornish Pirates from Plymouth Albion next season after agreeing a one-year deal .

Tom Cowan-Dickie. Pic: Rex Features
Rex Features

The 25-year-old, who can play as a hooker or prop, made his Championship debut in October 2010. He previously made 21 appearances across two seasons before spells with Exeter Chiefs and Redruth.

"He has already gained considerable experience and at the same time clearly has the potential to take his game to another level," said coach Alan Paver.

Fire service fog nails cost £400 each

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

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New firefighting technology which creates a dense mist and is being rolled out across Devon and Somerset is relatively cheap in firefighting terms.

The fog nail is a metal rod which uses high pressure water to create a dense mist, dousing a fire. They were used in fighting the blaze at the Riverside Leisure Centre in Exeter last week.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service initially bought four fog nails as a trial, but now they’re to be introduced in all 85 of the brigade’s stations. They cost about £400 each.

Man injured in hammer attack

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A man has been injured with a hammer in an "unprovoked attack" in Plymouth, police say.

Officers said a group of four young men was attacked in Taunton Avenue, Whitleigh, at about 03:15 on Saturday when two men in balaclavas approached and asked for cigarettes.

One of the pair began "punching out at a couple of the group". He then struck a 19-year-old with a claw hammer, causing a cut on his arm which required stitches. The pair then made off in an unknown direction.

Plymouth CID said: "We would like to reassure the public that assaults such as this with the use of weapons are rare in Plymouth.”

Offender 'bites through leg restraints'

Village Post Office run by the same family for 90 years is closing

BBC Radio Cornwall

A Cornish village Post Office run by the same family for nearly 90 years is to close this afternoon.

Paynters Lane End, at Illogan, near Pool, is one of many local post offices across Cornwall to move premises into a nearby store.

Caroline Smale
BBC

The Smale family started running the site in 1928 but won't be moving with it to the nearby Family Shopper. Caroline Smale (pictured) said she simply doesn't have enough customers to keep going as a separate entity. 

People in the area said they were really sad to see them go. 

The Post Office said it had sincerely thanked the family for running the branch "for so many generations".

Child abuse inquiry hears evidence from people from Cornwall

BBC Spotlight

The Independent Inquiry into Child Abuse has started hearing evidence from people taken from Cornwall to Australia as children in the 1950s and 1960s.

It was part of a controversial child migration policy which saw about 3,500 children sent to Australia after World War Two for what was hoped would be a more prosperous future. 

However, many of those migrants have told of sexual, physical and emotional abuse in the country.

The inquiry is scrutinising a range of institutions for child protection failings. 

Seven years ago, the British government apologised for what had happened. Cornwall Council apologised in 2010  "for the hurt caused" by the the former county authority.

Supermarket giant won legal battle with police 'on legal technicalities'

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Supermarket giant Morrisons won a legal battle with Devon and Cornwall Police about a contract to build a major new store on land at police headquarters on "legal technicalities", a police source has told the BBC.

Devon and Cornwall Police HQ
BBC

The contract for the sale of the land at Middlemoor in Exeter was signed in 2012. But Morrison’s began backing away from it the next year, according to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The money was earmarked to build a new police station and custody suite at Middlemoor , replacing the ageing Heavitree Road police station in the city centre. 

In a statement, Morrisons said: "This is subject to a legal process and is confidential, and therefore it would be wrong to comment further."

Plymouth's Royal Mail centre is closing - and could be turned into flats

Plymouth Herald

Hundreds of jobs are being moved out of the city centre as one of the city centre's biggest employers plans to close a major site near Pennycomequick.

Latest travel in Devon and Cornwall

BBC Travel

  • In Devon , Alphington Road in Exeter is very busy in both directions between the Alphington Junction and Exe Bridges
  • The road between California Cross and Morleigh is closed at Gara Bridge for emergency repairs to the bridge
  • In Plymstock, Oreston Road is closed between Plymstock Road and Thornville Terrace for emergency works. A diversion is in place
  • In Branscombe, there are temporary traffic lights on the A3052 for telecoms work. Traffic is queuing
  • The Dartmouth Higher Ferry is out of service for annual maintenance. The Lower Ferry is running as usual
  • In Cornwall , there's slow traffic on the A390 at Threemilestone through roadworks
  • In Newquay, there's slow traffic on the A3058 Edgcumbe Avenue at Holywell Road in the roadworks area
  • In Goonhavern, there's slow traffic on A3075 Newquay Road at Halt Road due to roadworks