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Summary

  1. About 100 firefighters have been tackling a major fire in Exeter
  2. PC quits Devon and Cornwall force saying she has 'lost all faith in the job I loved'
  3. Abuse victims assessed over phone by police
  4. Police are concerned for Dee Shelly, 58, from West Cornwall who has gone missing
  5. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Morris

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Thanks for joining us at BBC Local Live for Devon and Cornwall

BBC Spotlight

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. 

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

Cop resignation: Police 'put employees last'

BBC Spotlight

A police officer has published a damning resignation letter on social media criticising police for "putting their employees last".

Laura Beal has told the BBC that police officers are not able to do the "job we were designed to do".

Devon and Cornwall police officer quits over safety fears

Husband to sue after gran died of food poisoning from eating roast from Clock and Key in Trispen

Cornwall Live

A grandfather is suing a pub company after he watched his wife die from  food poisoning she got from a roast dinner.

There's tin in them thar hills! At least they hope so...

BBC Radio Cornwall

Drilling for tin will start at Kit Hill in Cornwall by the end of the month says mining firm Strategic Minerals.

Kit Hill
Nilfanion

Cornwall Council has green-lit the scheme at the Redmoor mine.

The firm said drilling is expected to take place in two phases this year.

Tin mining was once a major industry in the area but died out amid overseas competition and a fall in prices.

Extra police 'should relieve pressure'

BBC Spotlight

A senior officer at Devon and Cornwall Police said he hopes more staff will "help to relieve the pressure" on officers.

Ch Supt Jim Colwell made the comments following a damning public resignation letter from PC Laura Beal.

Ch Supt Colwell said “Last month the Chief Constable announced that, through additional budget provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner, we will be employing nearly 100 additional police officers onto the streets and into local policing, as well as 50 criminal investigators and 30 online record takers.

"The extra 100 police officers will bring the total number back up to 3,000 and should help to relieve the pressure."

Sunny periods and scattered showers

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

The rest of the day will be largely dry with some bright or sunny periods along with a few scattered showers. Moderate or fresh westerly winds will ease during the day and also turn to the south or southwest. Maximum tempurature: 11C (52F).

Weather
BBC

After a mostly dry start to the night with the odd shower, it'll become increasingly cloudy as a spell of occasionally heavy rain moves in from the south. The rain will become patchy by morning while light or moderate south to southwesterly winds will turn to the southeast, becoming strong later on the south coast. Minimum temperature: 6C (43F).  

BreakingLeading businessman charged with sexual offences

A leading south west businessman has been charged with 15 serious sexual offences. 

Charles Howeson, 67, of Stonehouse, Plymouth is a former Naval officer who had a successful business career in the public and private sector. 

Devon and Cornwall Police said the offences are alleged to have taken place against ten men between 1985 and 1994. 

He is due to appear at Plymouth Magistrates' Court on 13 April. 

Charles Howeson
BBC

The police said all of the alleged victims are male. One was aged between 14 and 15, another aged between 16 and 18, and eight were in their early twenties. 

Mr Howeson left the Navy to enter business and has worked in the public, private and voluntary sectors. 

Roles he has held include being chairman of NHS Property Services, regional chairman of Coutts and Co bank, chairman of First Great Western Trains Advisory Board and chairman of Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.

Police 'more like a business'

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

A police officer who has publicly resigned from Devon and Cornwall Police said the force was "more like a business" now.

Laura Beal said she was leaving the police because of the huge pressure put on officers.

Ms Beal said: "We are more like a business now in how we function in relation to finance and ‘customer’ relations, yet we are so far behind on employee rights."

Laura Beal
Laura Beal

It's a shark, but it's also a crocodile...

Julie Skentelbery

BBC Radio Cornwall

Shark
bbc

Here's another up close and personal pic of the gaping maw of the Crocodile Shark which washed up in Hope Cove.

Experts are amazed because the shark is most commonly found in warmer climes.

BreakingCommunity hospital beds axed

Police officer: 'Leaving before it kills me'

A police officer who shared her resignation letter online said she had decided to leave Devon and Cornwall Police to save herself.

Laura Beal wrote on Facebook: "I am leaving before this job kills me both physically and mentally.

"I am not only sad because I see what is potentially an amazing career get ruined by hypocrisy and lack of funding; but also because I know I am not the only one going through this and not everyone that needs the help and support will be as lucky as I am to be able to leave."

The letter has been shared hundreds of times and has prompted hundreds of comments.

Laura Beal
Laura Beal

Police resignation letter: "Staff are not coping"

The damning resignation letter of police officer Laura Beal ties in with the findings of a report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary into policing in England and Wales.

The inspectors said there are now too few detectives and in some areas an erosion of neighbourhood policing.

In her resignation letter Ms Beal told bosses : "Your staff are not coping, and are suffering because there is no one looking out for them.

"Front line response is where you need to focus your time and money. This is where the buck stops."

Laura Beal
Laura Beal

Crime commissioner to monitor police improvements

BBC Spotlight

Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, Alison Hernandez, says she will be monitoring closely the actions being taken to address the shortcomings identified in a report by  Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Police
BBC

She said she would ask the chief constable to deliver significant improvements in the consistency of services provided to the public through local policing teams and in the way that crime is investigated and offenders managed.

Overall the report found services provided by Devon & Cornwall Police required improvement. 

Key areas included community engagement through neighbourhood policing and the way that the force investigates crime and reduces re-offending.

Tropical crocodile shark found at Hope Cove

A rare species of shark has been found washed up on the UK coastline. 

Conservationists believe it is the first time it's been recorded here.

The animal was discovered on a beach at Hope Cove, in Devon, and reported to experts at the National Marine Aquarium, who believe it is a crocodile shark, usually found in tropical waters all around the globe. 

View more on twitter

Man 'attacked in Truro car park'

BBC Radio Cornwall

It's reported a man's been seriously injured after being attacked in the Moorfield car park in Truro.

A police officer is quoted as saying the victim was taken to hospital and had emergency surgery after being stabbed in the neck and losing a substantial amount of blood. 

He's expected to make a full recovery. 

The car park has recently become a sheltering place for some of Truro's homeless community.   

MP secures meeting on tackling plastic bottles on beaches

BBC Spotlight

A government minister has agreed to meet one of the region's MPs to discuss the problem of plastic bottles left on South West beaches.

Bottles
PA

Conservative Stephen Double, who represents St Austell and Newquay, raised the issue in the Commons.

He's calling for an extra charge on bottles, which would be refunded once they're returned.

Mr Double said: "The government's progress on banning microbeads is very welcome but there are other forms of plastic that are polluting our seas, including the 15 million plastic bottles that are thrown away every day."

How much are Plymouth's bus lane cameras earning for the city council?

BBC News England

Bus lane cameras in Embankment Road, Plymouth have pulled in more than £1.5m for the city council since they were launched in 2012.

But where are the other earners for the council?

  • Exeter Street - £130 a day and £46 a day
  • Leypark Walk - £103 a day
  • Penros Road - £92 a day
  • Tavistock Road - £65 a day
  • Saltash Road - £29 a day

Across England almost 4,000 motorists a day are fined for driving in bus lanes , with the most lucrative camera making £6,000 every 24 hours.

BBC England contacted 160 authorities responsible for highways in England, 64 of whom had bus lane cameras.

What do you think? Email us.

One lane closed on A38 in Glynn Valley

BBC Travel

On the A38 in the Glynn Valley eastbound between Carminow Cross and Doublebois, one lane is closed due to a broken-down lorry.

Parling and Waldrom to face former employers at Welford Road

Calum McKenzie

BBC Local Live

Here is the Exeter team news for tomorrow night. 

View more on twitter

Husband to sue pub company after his wife died from eating roast dinner

Plymouth Herald

A grieving husband is suing a pub company after he watched his  wife die from food poisoning  she got from a roast dinner.

Most businesses and roads reopen in blaze-hit area

Most businesses and roads have reopened in the area surrounding the site where a major fire destroyed a building in Exeter.

More than 100 firefighters were sent to Devon Contract Waste on Marsh Barton Road late last night.  

A section of Marsh Barton Road and Exton Road remain closed, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said. 

It asked members of the public to "take care in immediate area".

Exeter
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

'People need to hear this' says police officer in public resignation

BBC Spotlight

A police officer who quit the Devon and Cornwall force after 13 years said she wanted to let people know what it was like in the job.

Laura Beal
Laura Beal

Laura Beal published her resignation letter to Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer on Facebook  saying: "I am expected to go on patrol covering MID-DEVON with one other officer most days and this is meant to be adequate staffing and safe. How this can be acceptable is beyond belief. I have always worked to the best of my ability as I had pride in what I did. This however is not possible any more."

She told the BBC: "I thought people need to hear this."

She said the job was "making me physically and mentally ill".

"It got to the point where I thought 'What is the point?'

"I knew I had to put myself first which is unusual being a police officer because that's not what you do."

The force said officers' health was a priority and support was available through a number of initiatives.

In pictures: How Marsh Barton fire unfolded

Harriet Bradshaw

Reporter

Fire crews are damping down at the scene of a serious blaze at a waste site in Exeter.

Fire
BBC

More than 100 firefighters were sent to Devon Contract Waste on Marsh Barton Road late last night.

Fire
BBC

Pockets of smoke from hotspots are still coming for the unit on Marsh Barton. 

Fire
BBC
Fire
BBC
Fire
BBC

Home ownership literally just a dream for 89% in South West

BBC Spotlight

Eighty nine per cent of people in the South West were pushed out of home ownership by price , a report by housing charity Shelter says. 

House
iStock

Nearly eight out of 10 families across England are unable to afford newly built homes in their local area, a report by housing charity Shelter says.

Its research shows rising house prices hitting all parts of the country, not just London and the south east.

A new style of building, modelled on that of Victorian philanthropists, is urged, where short-term profits are replaced by long-term community gains.

Ministers agree the system is broken and want to make housing affordable.

What is your experience? Email us.

Fire crews 'make blaze building safe' ahead of 'poor weather'

View more on twitter

Firefighters are damping down at the scene of a significant blaze at a waste site in Exeter. 

Crews were called to Devon Contract Waste on Marsh Barton Road late last night, with more than 100 firefighters involved. 

A telehandler is being used to remove metal panels and make the building safe after the major fire, as poor weather is expected tomorrow, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said.

Exeter fire
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

Traffic update: Avoid Marsh Barton Road in Exeter after waste site blaze

BBC Travel

  • In Exeter, Marsh Barton Road is closed due to the earlier fire at the waste disposal site. The road is likely to remain closed until midday. Buses are by diverted
  • In Tavistock the A386 Abbey Place is partially blocked by an incident with two vehicles involved at Whitchurch Road
  • Near Woodbury Salterton, Sanctuary Lane is blocked in both directions due to a collision around the B3180. Recovery is under way
  • In Collaton St Mary there's slow traffic on the A385 Totnes Road at Stoke Road. In the roadworks area
  • At Goonhavern on the A3075 Newquay Road there are long delays due to the temporary traffic lights and roadworks around Halt Road
  • In Penzance on the A30 Longrock Bypass eastbound between Eastern Green and the Newtown Roundabout one lane is closed for roadworks. (From 27 February to 3 March.)
  • In the Glynn Valley the A38 westbound is closed for road works between the superstore and the Halfway House. A diversion is in place via the A390
  • The Dartmouth Higher Ferry is out of service for annual maintenance - the Lower Ferry is running as usual

Exeter is hit by fifth major fire in last year

BBC Spotlight

A fire at a waste plant in Exeter is the fifth major blaze in the city over the last year.

Royal Clarence
BBC
  • July 2016  - Richer Sounds . Investigators say the large fire which closed off part of Exeter city centre was probably caused by an electrical fault
  • September 2016 - Cavern Club.  The basement of the club was damaged. The cause is thought to be accidental
  • October 2016 - Royal Clarence Hotel. The fire wrecked the historic building on the Cathedral Green. Cause: Accidental
  • February 2017 - Riverside Leisure Centre.  The fire's believed to have started in the sauna
  • March 2017 - Devon Contract Waste's Envirohub recycling plant. Cause being investigated

'I quit' police officer praised for move by supporters online

BBC Spotlight

A police officer who quit after 13 years in the Devon and Cornwall force has been getting support online.

Laura Beal
Devon and Cornwall Police

Laura Beal's post on Facebook has seen responses like:

  • Well done for being so brave to do that, good luck from a retired officer
  • You will be a real loss to those of us that remain Laura, and I admire you greatly for following your heart & sharing your experiences
  • A very well written letter and sums up the way a great number of staff feel about the job now.
  • Good luck Laura. Most of us left will relate to what you've written. A brave move x

It comes as some police forces are putting the public  at an unacceptable risk by rationing their response as they struggle with cutbacks, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary warns.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the "wellness" of officers is a priority and support is available for officers through a number of initiatives.

Cordons reduced after major city fire

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service says cordons have been reduced in Marsh Barton to the area directly around the scene of the blaze.

At its height 100 firefighters were tackling the fire at the Devon Contract Waste site.

Exeter fire
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters peeling back outer layer of recycling hub ruined by Exeter fire

John Henderson

BBC Spotlight

Exeter fire
BBC

Marsh Barton fire is the sixth in the past 12 months in Exeter - a timeline of the blazes

Devon Live

The major blaze that has broken out on Thursday morning at Devon Contract Waste in Marsh Barton is the sixth major fire to strike Exeter in the last 12 months . Around 100 firefighters from across Exeter and East Devon have been tackling a fire since 11pm on Wednesday - and expect to be at the scene for several hours more.

Major fire in Exeter: Roads and nearby businesses to open 'as soon as possible'

The number of fire engines at the scene of a significant blaze at a site in Exeter has been reduced to six after more than 100 firefighters tackled it overnight. 

Two-thirds of the roof at Devon Contract Waste on Marsh Barton Road has now collapsed into the main building after the intense fire.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: "Incident now moving towards the recovery phase, working with partners to make scene safe and open roads and businesses as soon as possible."

Fire
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

Police health a 'priority' after officer quits citing lack of support

BBC Spotlight

Police say that staff health is a priority as a police officer quits after 13 years blaming strain of the job.

Police
BBC

Laura Beal said she was resigning because lack of support was making her ill.

Supt Jim Colwell, Devon Commander, said he was "sympathetic to the reasons she gives for leaving the force" and thanked her for her "loyal service".

"Hearing of an officer resigning is sad, particularly when this is done so publicly," he said.

"We do hear concerns from officers and staff and recognise where they are feeling the strain. We acknowledge that these issues undoubtedly have an impact on staff wellbeing."

He said there had been a series of initiatives including a "peer support network, a counselling service and we have implemented the Blue Light programme developed by mental health charity Mind, aimed at emergency services staff".

Major Exeter blaze: 'Entire fleet of vehicles saved'

Following a major fire at Devon Contract Waste’s Envirohub recycling plant overnight, Simon Almond, Managing Director, said: “I can confirm no-one has been injured in the incident and that the fire has been contained by Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

“Thankfully, due to the prompt actions of the fire officers and the bravery of a number of Devon Contract Waste’s staff, we were able to save the entire fleet of vehicles. This means that service for all our clients will be undertaken as normal and collections will be made as usual.  

"Alternative arrangements to deal with all waste have already been put in place.

“We are working closely with local authorities and utility companies to minimise disruption to local business.”

Fire
Gideon Hodder

PC quits Devon and Cornwall force saying she has 'lost all faith in the job I loved'

A police officer has attacked the lack of staffing and support as she quit the Devon and Cornwall force after 13 years.

Laura Beal
Devon and Cornwall Police

It comes as some police forces are putting the public at an unacceptable risk by rationing their response as they struggle with cutbacks, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary warns.

PC Laura Beal, who followed in her father's footsteps into the force, told the BBC: "I used to be so proud of being a police officer but now I am embarrassed because of the way people are being treated.

"It is not being disloyal, it is being loyal to them because no-one is helping them in the organisation."

She said in her resignation letter to Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer: "I am expected to go on patrol covering Mid-Devon with one other officer most days and this is meant to be adequate staffing and safe. How this can be acceptable is beyond belief. I have always worked to the best of my ability as I had pride in what I did. This however is not possible any more." 

Devon and Cornwall Police is yet to comment.