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  1. Police in Devon call off a search for missing 26-year-old doctor Lauren Phillips
  2. Women taking legal action for sex discrimination over against Met Office
  3. Dead whale washes up on north Devon beach
  4. Tribute paid to Lauren Scott, who was killed by farm machinery
  5. A Plymouth building project helps homeless veterans turn their lives around
  6. Updates on Thursday 9 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Sian Davies

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 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.

Latest weather: Staying mild

David Braine

Weather Forecaster

Cloud will once again push in from the South West overnight across all parts this evening. This will bring some light, patchy rain and drizzle, along with hill fog over higher ground. However, it will be another mild night for all. Minimum temperature: 9C (48F).


Friday will be another mild day, though mainly cloudy with a little light rain and drizzle. Patchy hill fog will tend to linger, but brighter spells are possible in the north and east. Maximum temperature: 14C (57F).

UK Government 'discriminating' against Cornwall, council says

BBC Radio Cornwall

Cornwall Council has accused the UK Government of "discrimination" after a report on the protection of national minorities was not shared with it before government gave a response. 

The report said the Cornish identity should be "nurtured" and that the government should "reconsider cutting all funding for the Cornish language".

"We are disappointed by this further evidence of discrimination, which meant that we were unable to influence the government’s response, or prepare our own response to the findings or recommendations", Cornwall Council said.

The Cornish flag
Getty Images

In response, the government said: “We’re supporting the further development of Cornish culture and heritage, including with more than £800,000 funding since 2010. This complements Cornwall’s core spending powers of £1.7bn over the next four years.”

Gulls owners could have sacked me - Nicholson

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Torquay United manager Kevin Nicholson says the club's new owners would have been "well within their rights" to sack him, given the team's poor results.

The Gulls, recently taken over by Gaming International, are two points from safety with one win in 10 games.

Kevin Nicholson
Rex Features

"Every time the phone rang on Sunday I was looking, because I thought that might've been it," Nicholson told  BBC Radio Devon.

"They [the owners] spelt out exactly what they expect and then they've backed me, they've given me a little bit extra funding-wise to try and get one or two players in."

Aerial rope bridge coming to the Eden Project

Rob England

BBC News Online

A rope bridge allowing visitors to explore the Eden Project's indoor rainforest "from the treetops" will be opening this month. 

The aerial bridge is the latest addition to its indoor rainforest canopy walkway.

Staff said construction was nearing completion and it would be officially opened on Saturday 18 March. 

The Eden Project
Getty Images

You’ll be able to cross our high-level canopy rope bridge, travel through heat-reflecting clouds, and shelter from tropical rain. We’ll also be showing you how you can get involved and support projects, or take actions to conserve the forest.”

Dr Jo Elworthy Eden Project Director of Interpretation

We dig that! Garden makeover to help Curtis

Emma Thomasson

BBC Spotlight

View more on twitter

WellChild, the national charity for sick children, has given a garden in Cornwall a makeover. 

Ten-year-old Curtis has  Charge Syndrome , a genetic condition which means he's seriously ill and needs a safe space he can use. The rare condition affects about one in every 10,000 births.

Thanks to volunteers, his play space has been transformed, and you can see here how much everyone likes it.

Pirates make five changes for quarter-final

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Cornish Pirates have named Jack Andrew at prop in place of his brother Paul for their British & Irish Cup quarter-final in Jersey tomorrow night.

Centres Bar Bartlett and Nicolas De Battista are recalled, with Will Cargill and Brett Beukeboom also starting.

Jersey v Cornish Pirates
Brian Tempest

"It's not very often you get to play a team two weeks on the trot, so we'll be looking to right our wrongs, as will they," Pirates coach Gavin Cattle told BBC Radio Cornwall.

"Jersey are a big set-piece team and it's about parity or even the upper hand, so we can put ourselves on them," he added.

Dead whale 'moving further inshore'

Ryan Morrison

BBC News Online

A dead whale that washed up on the rocks at Hartland Quay in Devon last night could be moving further inshore, according to the owners of a nearby hotel.

Liam Reynolds

It was spotted on Wednesday afternoon and has already moved further inshore due to the tide last night. 

Sarah Stafford from the Hartland Quay Hotel said: "We're concerned it may happen again tonight."

She added that she'd already reported it to the government and she hoped something was done "before it starts to smell".

Liam Reynolds

Met Office pay dispute: 'We reward staff achievements'

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

More than 70 women have claimed that the Met Office, based in Exeter, has discriminated against them over how much they are paid compared to their male colleagues. 

The 76 women have claimed sex discrimination, saying they were given lower salaries than men for similar jobs.

Met Office

Negotiations have now begun to try to resolve the dispute. The Prospect union said a settlement could run into more than £100,000.

The Met Office said it could not directly comment on the case but did say it was "committed to attracting, maintaining and developing the very best people". 

It added: "We always endeavour to act in a positive way in our dealings with our staff and appropriately reward their achievements."

No verdict yet in Thomas Orchard police station killing case

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

The jury in the trial of three Devon and Cornwall Police staff accused of the manslaughter of a man with mental health problems has been sent home after a third day considering its verdicts.

Thomas Orchard

Thirty-two-year-old Thomas Orchard died after losing consciousness at Heavitree Road Police station in 2012.

Sgt Jan Kingshott, 45, and detention officers Simon Tansley, 39, and Michael Marsden, 56, all deny gross negligence manslaughter. 

The judge at Bristol Crown Court told the jury to return to continue its deliberations in the morning.

Police 'exhaust all lines of inquiry' in search for junior doctor Lauren Phillips

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

"We have exhausted all lines of inquiry down there," said a spokesman for Avon and Somerset Constabulary as the search was called off in Devon for missing junior doctor Lauren Phillips.

Lauren Phillips
Police handout

"Police will respond to any sightings and any new investigations," said the spokesman.

Dr Lauren Phillips, who works for North Bristol NHS Trust and lived in Bristol, was last seen on 23 February. The 26-year-old's car was found in Woolacombe, Devon, five days later. 

Coastguards, the RNLI and a police helicopter had been searching for her in the area.

Plymouth veteran 'turning life around' thanks to building project

Emma Thomasson

BBC Spotlight

A Plymouth building project is helping homeless veterans turn their lives around and get off the streets. 

The Community Self Build Agency is working with tradespeople to help homeless veterans gain new skills and a place to stay.

John Manuel

For three decades, on and off, John Manuel (pictured) has been living on the streets.

He said: "When this project is finished, I will have somewhere stable to live and I can rebuild my life again. I'm hoping the family down here will recognise I'm turning my life around."

Plymouth hopes for Budget cash while facing 'severe' social care funding problems

Rob England

BBC News Online

Plymouth City Council is hopeful that an extra £2bn for health and social care  across the UK will help with "very severe problems" it is facing in trying to fund the rising cost of care.

Chancellor Philip Hammond made the announcement as part of the 2017 Budget .  

The council said demand was rising as the population "gets older".

The number of people over 65 in Plymouth is expected to rise from about 46,200 in 2015 to 49,500 in 2020, it is estimated.

We are hopeful that we will receive an adequate allocation of this funding for our work in continuing to support the elderly and most vulnerable residents in Plymouth.”

Ian BowyerLeader, Plymouth City Council

Council of Europe report criticises government over Cornish language and culture

BBC Radio Cornwall

A report from the Council of Europe has criticised the British Government's attitude to protecting the Cornish language and culture. 

It said the government's decision to cut funding to support the Cornish language should be reconsidered, and the next census should allow people to identify themselves as Cornish. 

The chairwoman of the Cornish Language Society, Loveday Jenkin, said she felt that Westminster had failed the county. 

The government said it had given Cornish culture and heritage more than £800,000 since 2010.

Hopes fade for missing junior doctor Lauren Phillips as search called off

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

An air, land and sea search for a missing junior doctor in Devon has been called off, police say. 

Lauren Phillips
Police handout

Dr Lauren Phillips - who works for North Bristol NHS Trust and had worked in Cornwall - was last seen on Thursday 23 February.

The 26-year-old's car was found in Woolacombe, Devon, on 28 February and coastguards, the RNLI and a police helicopter had been searching for her. 

Devon and Cornwall Police said: "The search has been stood down in our area now."

Met Office pay dispute: Union 'glad of negotiations'

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

A union says it is glad the Met Office is trying to resolve claims of sex discrimination over pay "by negotiation, rather than litigation".

Met Office

Some 76 women are taking legal action against the Exeter-based forecaster, claiming they have not been paid as much as male colleagues for similar work.

The Prospect union said any settlement could run to more than £100,000. Negotiations are under way to resolve the dispute. 

Union South West regional secretary Tony Bell said: "I'm glad the Met Office have finally decided to deal with this problem by negotiation, rather than litigation. But I believe we would not have reached this point if we had not taken legal action."

Horserider 'harassed by dogs' on beach

Cornwall Live

A horserider is pleading with dog owners to control their pets better after sharing a shocking video of her frightening ordeal of harassment on Marazion beach which has been seen by tens of thousands on the internet.

New memorial a 'thank you to service personnel and civilians'

BBC Radio Devon

Donna Stonelake and her husband Mark, from Crafthole, have been guests of honour as the Queen unveiled a new memorial dedicated to those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan between 1990 and 2015. 

Donna and Mark

Donna served in Iraq in the Royal Navy, while Mark lost a leg when he was blown up by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2008.

Donna said of the memorial: "It's that little bit of a thank you - to say 'thank you for your work'." 

She added: "It's not just a forces thing. Civilians have been out there doing an amazing job as well."

Latest weather: Sunny spells this afternoon

BBC Weather

It'll be dry with sunny spells for most this afternoon. 

In the far South West though, it will remain cloudy with some patchy rain and drizzle likely. 

Tonight, there will also be some light rain and drizzle along with hill fog.


Landslip hits St Erth-St Ives rail services

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Rail services between St Erth and St Ives have been disrupted by a landslip in Cornwall, National Rail Enquiries says .

Staff said the landslip meant trains were "unable to run between the stations" and that tickets could be used on First Kernow's number 14 and 17 buses.

"This disruption is expected to continue until 17:00," it added.

Cornish coach excited by rugby potential

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Redruth and Truro College coach Mark Churcher says he is impressed by the number of Cornish youngsters playing at a good standard in the county.

Exeter Chiefs duo Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jack Nowell are among the players to have progressed to the top level, having started playing in Cornwall.

Marek Churcher
Redruth RFC

"It just shows the quality that's coming out of Cornwall now, and we at Truro College are trying to produce players for Cornish teams. We've done that in Joe Elderkin and many other players as well," Churcher told BBC Radio Cornwall.

"I think I counted last weekend we had 88 current or ex-students playing for Cornish teams. It just shows what we're trying to do for the county, and for the players as well."

Landlords prefer pets to benefit claimants

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Landlords are more likely to accept potential renters who own pets than people claiming benefits , a BBC investigation has found. 

Analysis of some 11,000 online listings for spare rooms found all but a few hundred stated benefit claimants were not welcome. 


The investigation found: 

  • Out of 11,806 adverts for rooms to let, just 2% were open to people on benefits
  • The website's listings showed not a single vacancy for a benefit claimant in seven cities, including Exeter
  • Plymouth had the highest rate of acceptance, but even that was just 10% of rooms, 15 out of 144

Dead whale washes up at Hartland Quay

Ryan Morrison

BBC News Online

There are concerns a dead whale that washed up in north Devon could move further inshore with the tide.

Dead whale
Sarah Stafford

The whale, thought to be a baleen whale, was spotted on Wednesday afternoon at Hartland Quay. It's been described as "very large" by the owners of a nearby hotel.

Sarah Stafford, manager of the Hartland Quay Hotel, said staff had reported it to the government and that it was definitely dead.

She said the whale had already moved further inshore with Wednesday night's tide and it was likely it would happen again.

Police appeal for witnesses of A39 crash

A man was critically injured in the crash on the A39 near Falmouth yesterday.

Police are looking in particular for three "young men" who they believe were standing outside a Lidl shop in Penryn at the time of the accident.

View more on twitter

Glover back on the water... with a difference

BBC Radio Cornwall

Helen Glover and Steve Backshall. PIc: PA

Cornish double Olympic rowing champion Helen Glover is back on the water ... but not as she knows it.

The Penzance-raised Olympic gold winner has been getting a crash course in kayaking from her husband, wildlife presenter Steve Backshall. They're to row more than 100 miles down the Thames to Westminster together.

The couple said it was to raise money to buy an area of rainforest in Borneo and stop it from being turned into a palm oil plantation.

People 'not using gull-proof bags should face fine'

Rob England

BBC News Online

The Mayor of Truro says he wants to try out fining people for feeding seagulls. 

Andrew Segal

Rob Nolan said he had written to Cornwall Council, proposing that anyone who deliberately fed the birds or didn't bag up their rubbish in gull-proof bags should have to pay a £50 fine.

He said he wanted to trial the proposal on Lemon Quay and have it policed by existing council staff.

Mr Nolan said people should also face fines if they left out uncovered bags. He said: "That's feeding seagulls, if you put your bag out without any kind of cover."

Support for homeless veterans in Plymouth

Emma Thomasson

BBC Spotlight

A Plymouth building project is helping homeless veterans turn their lives around and get off the streets. 

Figures from the National Audit Office show at least one in every 10 people who leaves the military in the South West ends up with nowhere to live.

Building site

The Community Self Build Agency said it was trying to change that by working with homeless veterans and tradesmen, to help them gain new skills and find a place to stay. 

Police 'concerned' for missing man Peter Giles

Rob England

BBC News Online

Police are "increasingly concerned" after a man went missing from his home in mid Devon.

Peter Giles, 70, from Newton St Cyres, went missing yesterday evening.

A member of the public found Mr Giles's car on a small bridge a few miles from the town of Crediton. 

Police are continuing to search the area and have appealed for witnesses.

Peter Giles
Devon and Cornwall Police

How can we deal with greedy gulls?

Laurence Reed

BBC Radio Cornwall

Young woman killed by farm machinery was 'wonderful person'

Victoria Gould

BBC News Online

A young woman killed by farm machinery over the weekend was a "wonderful, bubbly person", who will be "sorely missed",  friends and colleagues say .

Lauren Scott, from Exeter, died on a farm near Dawlish on Saturday afternoon. 

The 20-year-old, who was described as someone who loved horses, worked at Newton Abbot racecourse. Staff there said they were "devastated" by the news.

The Health and Safety Executive is investigating the incident. 

Lauren Scott

Volunteers help search for missing doctor

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Volunteer rescue teams have been part of the search for missing junior doctor Lauren Phillips near Woolacombe in Devon after her car was found there.

Lauren Phillips
Devon and Cornwall Police

Searches of the area have been carried out by Devon and Cornwall Police, assisted by HM Coastguard, the RNLI and the National Police Air Service.

Volunteer mountain rescue teams have also been involved, from Exmoor, North Dartmoor and later Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Tavistock. 

So far, no trace of the Bristol woman has been found. 

Nowell returns to England side

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Exeter Chiefs winger Jack Nowell will return to the England side for their Six Nations match against Scotland on Saturday.

The Newlyn-born player was left out against Italy but will start at Twickenham as England look to continue their 17-game winning streak.

Nowell's Chiefs team-mate Henry Slade is not in the squad, meaning he could feature for Exeter in their Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-final against Harlequins this weekend.

North Devon Link Road litter pick fills 55 bags

Military couple are guests of honour at memorial unveiling

BBC Radio Devon

Two military veterans from the South West who fell in love on the battlefield will be guests of honour later as The Queen unveils a new memorial

It's dedicated to those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan between 1990 and 2015. 

Donna and Mark

Former Army Commando Mark Stonelake from Crafthole lost a leg when he was blown up by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2008. His wife, Donna, served in Iraq in the Royal Navy. 

He said: "The nicest thing about it all is being able to share it with people who have been through similar situations, so you can all be thinking about your personal experience out there all together. It's a once in a lifetime thing."

Search for missing Cornwall man John Hurst

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Newquay's RNLI is involved in the search for John Hurst, 46, who is missing from Cubert in Cornwall. 

Lifeboat volunteers were alerted by the Coastguard just before 07.30 on Wednesday, and both RNLI inshore lifeboats were launched from Newquay Harbour, the charity said.

The search continues on land, sea and air
Newquay Coastguard Rescue Team

Shoreline searches were carried out between Crantock and Ligger Point, near Penhale Camp, in poor visibility and strong winds gusting to 40mph.

Newquay and St Agnes Coastguard rescue teams, police, a Coastguard rescue helicopter and volunteers from the Cornwall Search and Rescue team have also been involved in the operation.

John Hurst
Devon and Cornwall Police

John was last seen around 13:00 on Tuesday 7 March and is believed to be in the Newquay area, police said.

He is described as white, about 6ft tall, of medium to large build, with short dark hair, with a beard or stubble, and has a scratch above his left eye. 

He is possibly wearing a black coat, blue jumper and jeans.

Met Office in negotiations over equal pay

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

More than 70 women are taking legal action against the Met Office, based in Exeter, in a dispute over what they claim is unfair pay because of sex discrimination.

The Prospect Union said 76 women were taking action and any settlement could run to more than £100,000. Negotiations have now begun to try to resolve the dispute. 

The women are not on-air weather forecasters, but do a range of jobs, such as helping to prepare predictions and providing IT support.

Fair pay

Major search after man leaves car on bridge over river

Devon Live

A major search operation for a missing man in Devon is set to resume after being called off on Wednesday night.

Latest weather: Sunshine due later after a cloudy start for some

Lucy Martin

BBC Weather

BBC weather in Devon and Cornwall on Thursday 9 March

It's been a cloudy start for some today. However, it'll be bright with some sunny spells and light winds for most by the afternoon. 

Feeling mild, especially where there is sunshine, and the maximum temperature will be 13C (55F)

Travel update: Congestion around M5 at Exeter due to earlier crash

BBC News Travel

  • On the M5, the Junction 30 Exeter services slip road is now clear after an earlier collision, but the motorway, A380 and A38 northbound are all very congested  
  • At Winnards Perch, the A39 eastbound is partially blocked due to an accident at the roundabout
  • On the A30, the Blackwater bypass at Scorrier is blocked eastbound by collision near the Fox & Hounds. There's heavy traffic