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Summary

  1. Work to remove cladding from three Plymouth tower blocks 'to begin in the next few days' - local MP
  2. --- Material used in the towers similar to Grenfell
  3. --- 24-hour patrols in place at blocks
  4. --- Plymouth Community Homes taking 'immediate precautions'
  5. Shorts to become part of uniform at skirt protest school
  6. Firefighters called back to St Agnes Beacon as gorse fire reignites
  7. Basking sharks 'abandon' Cornish coast
  8. Updates on Friday 23 June 2017

Live Reporting

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 Monday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

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

Plymouth tower block resident 'nervous' of cladding

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

John Charrington, who lives in one of three Plymouth tower blocks that are to have their fire-risk cladding removed says he's a "bit nervous" while the material is still on.

John Charrington
BBC

Plymouth Community Homes, managers of the three Mount Wise tower blocks, say the cladding, which is similar to the material on the Grenfell towers, will be off in days.

Mr Charrington, 67, said: "When I saw the pictures from London I thought 'That's the cladding going up'.

"You could see the way it was whizzing up the building.

"The next day people were chatting about whether it was safe.

"There's been lots of people here checking the buildings and photographing alarms, but I've got no idea how long it's going to take them."

Penzance sign Sykes from Leicestershire

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Penzance have signed spinner James Sykes after he left County Championship side Leicestershire by mutual consent yesterday.

The 25-year-old made his white-ball debut for Leicestershire in 2012, with his first four-day appearance coming in 2013.

James Sykes
Getty Images

Left-arm spinner James Sykes took 45 wickets in all formats of the game for Leicestershire.

Thou shalt tidy up the Ten Commandments on Dartmoor

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

The Ten Commandments written in stone on two giant slabs on Dartmoor are getting a tidy up.

The monument was created in 1928 to celebrate the rejection by parliament of the proposed new Book of Common Prayer.

But both slabs have been weather worn over the decades and now they are being conserved thanks to £16,000 from the Parishscapes project and the Dartmoor National Park Communities Fund.

Penis crusader hitting Cornwall to spray paint condoms on x-rated graffiti and raise STI awareness

Cornwall Live

A Banksy-esque artist has revealed details of his mission to inspire residents of Cornwall to protect their (graffiti) penises.

Hanging out at Eden

A team of people are going to camping with a difference at the Eden Project on Saturday night.

They are going to be in special tents hanging from the roof of the biomes.

Hanging tent
Eden Project

It's being done to raise awareness of the critically-endangered Borneo rainforest.

Among those camping up high are scientists, film maker and adventurers.

Weather: Drizzle expected later

Dan Downs, Weather Forecaster

Cloud will continue to spread further to the southeast bringing outbreaks of mostly light rain and drizzle from the northwest along with low cloud, mist and patches of hill fog.

Moderate or fresh southwesterly winds will become lighter during the night. Min Temp 14C (57F).

Weather map
BBC

It'll be a cloudy and rather damp morning with some further outbreaks of light rain or drizzle.

Cloud will also cover the hills at times before drier and perhaps brighter weather moves in from the west during the afternoon.

Light or moderate southwesterly winds will be fresher on the south coast and will veer to the northwest later in the day. Max Temp 20C (68F).

Grenfell tower blaze left Plymouth tower resident in tears

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Diane McHenry, who has lived in one of three at-risk Plymouth tower blocks for 24 years, said she was crying when she saw the Grenfell Tower tragedy on the news.

Diane McHenry
BBC

The Mount Wise Towers are to have their cladding removed after the material was found to be similar to the Grenfell towers.

"I felt safe anyway - we have good smoke alarms - but it's good that they're taking it off," she said.

"It's filthy and disgusting and should have come down years ago."

Steamship company denies monopoly accusation

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has reacted angrily to suggestions it is a 'self-interested monopoly'.

The claims have been made by TravelWatch SouthWest, a travel watchdog, which supports a revived helicopter link to the islands.

A judicial review is going to be held after the steamship company challenged the proposals.

In a statement it said: "It is deeply disappointing that TravelWatch SouthWest made no attempt whatsoever to discuss any of their concerns with us before publishing their letter."

Scilly beach
BBC

"It shows a very poor and simplistic understanding of the Penzance heliport proposal and the travel market to Scilly, and is a one-sided view of a complex situation.

"We do not oppose a competing helicopter operation but seriously question its impact on the transport network if operated from Penzance.

"There is no monopoly, and we reject accusations of self-interest. We will be contacting TravelWatch to try and give them a better understanding of this complex issue."

Paignton teen guilty of groping sleeping girl but cleared of rape

Devon Live

A teenager has been cleared of raping a 17-year-old girl after she fell asleep in his bedroom but found guilty of groping her.

Hernandez won't retract gun comments

BBC Radio Devon

Devon and Cornwall's Police and Crime Commissioner says she doesn't support vigilantism but she won't be retracting her comments about licensed gun owners helping to defend their communities in the event of a terrorist attack.

Alison Hernandez said she wanted to stimulate a debate when making to the comments to BBC Radio Cornwall, to discuss what would happen if a member of the public shot someone.

Police chief in armed civilians row

Today on BBC Radio Devon she said she wants people to follow police advice and run, hide and tell in the event of a terror attack.

Grenfell fire: Plymouth tower blocks in the spotlight

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Government should be 'clear' they'll cover cost of emergency repair, says Plymouth MP

Tower-block resident Steve didn't sleep at home last night. He was told cladding on the block of flats in Plymouth where he lives had been given the lowest possible safety score, and said it was "human instinct" to be concerned.

Steve lives at Mount Wise Towers - made up of three blocks - Tavy, Tamar and Lynher - which are coloured blue, red and green respectively.

The blocks dominate the Devonport skyline, a historically industrial area of the city which houses the biggest dockyard in Western Europe, are run by housing provider Plymouth Community Homes.

Devonport is among the 10% of the most deprived areas in the country, and is the most deprived of Plymouth's 39 neighbourhoods.

Steve
BBC

Steve, 34, who lives in Tamar - or the red tower - said he felt nervous following the fire at Grenfell, in west London, which left at least 79 people dead.

"I slept somewhere else last night," he said. "It was just the initial thought of finding out about our flats after what happened in London. You think, if it happened in London, if it did happen here it doesn't bear thinking about."

Music gets green light for Mazey day

Live, so-called pop-up music, will be allowed at Penzance's Mazey Day this weekend.

There were some concerns musicians playing on the street and in pubs could be banned at tomorrow's big festival day in Penzance because of licensing laws.

Mazey Day
BBC

However, councillors say they've persuaded the police not to prosecute anyone playing at the event.

Exmouth woman fined for fly tipping

An Exmouth woman has been fined more than £1,400 for fly tipping.

Jill O'Donnell of Old Bystock Drive, Exmouth Place, pleaded guilty and was fined £1,451.

Exeter Magistrates Court heard she dumped more than 20 bags of domestic waste and some old carpets in the service lane behind her home during the summer of last year.

She was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £145.

The chairman of the Magistrates told the defendant: "It is clear that council officers bent over backwards to try to help you but you did not accept it. This was a deliberate act which we regard as a serious offence."

Travel: M5 busy

BBC News Travel

  • At Chivenor the A361 partially blocked near Heanton Hill Lane due to an accident
  • On the M5 southbound around Exeter there's slow moving traffic
  • On the A38 westbound between Carkeel and Notter there's heavy traffic
  • In Liskeard Old Road is partially blocked near Woodgate Road due to an accident

This is why diggers were moving tonnes of sand from the dunes at Perranporth beach

Cornwall Live

A number of complaints were made to Perranzabuloe Parish Council on Tuesday after people spotted diggers cutting back the large dunes that Perranporth beach is famous for.

Sunny St Ives

BBC Weather Watchers

St Ives
BBC

Travel: A30 traffic slow at Bodmin

BBC News Travel

  • In Ipplepen, Gropers Lane is partially blocked due to an accident near Bickley Road
  • On the A30 Bodmin bypass heading eastbound there's slow traffic
  • On the A30 westbound around Temple there are delays

Exeter academy skirt boys win right to wear shorts

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

Boys who wore skirts to school in a protest have won the right to wear shorts to lessons from next year.

The boys from Exeter's ISCA Academy had been told shorts were banned because they were not part of the uniform.

But the school has now said "as summers are becoming hotter" shorts will be brought in as uniform next year.

It said it could not allow an immediate change to uniforms because it "would put undue pressure on some of our families".

Protest
BBC

North Staffs pottery workers offered £500 bonus to move to Devon

The Sentinel

Pottery workers in North Staffordshire are being headhunted to work 200 miles away in Devon - with a £500 'welcome' bonus for each new recruit.

Travel: Several accidents across the region

BBC News Travel

  • In Liskeard, on Old Road near Woodgate Road, we've got reports there's an accident
  • Between Ludgvan and Gulval, the B3311 is partially blocked due to an accident
  • In Paignton, on Esplanade Road near Garfield Road, we've got reports there's an accident
  • At Chivenor the A361 is partially blocked near Heanton Hill Lane due to an accident
  • In Ipplepen, on Gropers Lane, we've got reports there's an accident near Bickley Road

Cheeky cheetah looks spot-on

The newest addition to Paignton Zoo Environmental Park's cheetah enclosure is Kitwana, and he seems to be enjoying himself.

He joins three-year-old female cheetah Jahzara and has arrived from Port Lympne Zoo in Kent.

Cheetah
Jason Sedgemore

Reid keen to step up after 'plateau'

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Melissa Reid says she is looking at ways of becoming faster after taking gold at the European Para-triathlon Championships earlier this month.

The 26-year-old from Cornwall won the PTVI title in Austria to add to her bronze from the Rio Olympics last year.

Melissa Reid
Getty Images

"This year's about trying new things to see where we can improve, to try and stay on top of the podium," she told BBC Radio Cornwall.

"I'd say I plateaued quite a bit over the past couple of years, but I've been lucky enough to stay on the podium."

Primary school ducking the issue

The pupils at St Breock school near Wadebridge are looking for homes for three ducklings.

They've been raised at the school after a parent gave them three eggs.

They are enjoying the paddling pool at the school, but are looking for 'quacking' good homes...

View more on twitter

Steamship company - 'a self-interested monopoly provider'

One of the South West's main transport watchdogs has entered the row about whether to build a heliport at Penzance to restart helicopter flights to the Isles of Scilly.

TravelWatch SouthWest backs a revived helicopter link and criticises the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company which is trying to stop the heliport in court.

Illustration
Penzance Heliport

It accuses the steamship company of being "a self-interested monopoly provider" which may be abusing its "market power".

The company says it wants helicopters to resume flying - but only from Land's End Airport because it says the market just can't support two airports.

A High Court judge is going to review the decision to grant planning permission for a new heliport in Penzance.

The steamship company said in response: “Our actions are driven by a desire to safeguard the long-term future of transport to the Isles of Scilly in the interests of all islanders and visitors. There is no monopoly, and we reject accusations of self-interest. We will be contacting TravelWatch to try and give them a better understanding of this complex issue.”

PCC wants to appoint deputy

BBC Radio Devon

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez plans to ask the Police and Crime Panel to support the appointment of Mark Kingscote as her deputy.

Mr Kingscote, is a councillor in Torbay and was first elected in 2000.

"I have every confidence that Mark is the right person for this role," said Ms Hernandez.

"He is a strong individual who will represent the most vulnerable in our communities well, is committed to building safe, resilient and connected communities and with a track record in the areas we need to enhance efforts on," she added.

She will ask the panel next week.

Shorts to become part of uniform at skirt protest school

A school - where 30 boys wore skirts in protest at being told they were not allowed to wear shorts - will be including the summer clothing in its school uniform - subject to a consultation.

The pupils from ISCA Academy in Exeter asked permission to modify their uniform because of the hot weather. One of the boys who took part in the protest on Thursday said: "We're not allowed to wear shorts, and I'm not sitting in trousers all day, it's a bit hot."

Schoolboys wear skirts as 'it's a bit hot'

In a statement, the school said: "Shorts are not currently part of our school uniform for boys. However, as summers are becoming hotter, shorts will be introduced as part of our school uniform next year having first consulted with students and parents.

"We feel that introducing a change in uniform part way through this year would put undue pressure on some of our families.

"In the meantime, our summer uniform allows students not to wear their jumper or blazer. Also, recognising the recent temperatures, students have also been allowed not to wear ties, to have the top button on their shirts undone, and to wear their shirts untucked if they are feeling very hot."

Cars targeted by thieves in Devon

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

Thieves have been targeting cars and vans in Devon, stealing thousands of pounds worth of tools, car parts and other items, police have warned.

Officers say several incidents happened between Friday 16 and Monday 19 June in Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton.

Catalytic converters were removed from two Honda Accords and almost £5,000 worth of tools were stolen from two vans, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

Police
BBC

A woman also had her £800 Samsung tablet stolen from her car in Exmouth.

PCSO Malcolm McGuire from Exmouth said: “People should take care by keeping car windows closed and doors locked and by keeping valuables out of view. Tourists and locals flock to the seaside, particularly in the summer months, and can be vulnerable to car crime."

New sprinklers and heat sensors to be fitted to tower blocks

Sian Davies

BBC News Online

Flats
Google

Work to remove cladding - with the lowest fire safety rating - from three Plymouth tower blocks will begin within the next few days - according to the local MP.

Plymouth Community Homes (PCH) says new sprinklers and heat sensors will be installed at the buildings at Mount Wise.

Ian Harley, chairman of the Residents Association for Mount Wise Towers, said: "When things first kicked off in London, people were very concerned. I was getting a lot of calls asking if they were affected.

"PCH has been incredibly quick in getting on top of this. They carried out three inspections to look at specific issues within a matter of hours."

Ian Harley
BBC

In total across the UK, 11 residential high-rise buildings in eight local authority areas, including Mount Wise, have been found to be covered in combustible cladding.

The panelling is described as aluminium-coated with a polyethylene core. It was rated as category three under test conditions, on a scale where zero is the highest safety score and three the lowest.

Commandments tidied up

BBC Spotlight

The Ten Commandments written in stone on two giant slaps on Dartmoor are being re-carved and painted.

The monument was created in 1928 to celebrate the rejection by parliament of the proposed new book of common prayer. But both slabs have been weather worn over the decades.

Stones
BBC

Now they're being conserved thanks to £16,000 from the Parishscapes project and the Dartmoor National Park Communities Fund.

Argyle player sends message to fans

Plymouth Argyle player Ryan Brunt has sent a message to Pilgrims fans on Twitter, explaining why he will not be playing for the Green Army again.

View more on twitter

Safety plea after 68 children reported missing on UK beaches

The UK Coastguard has issued a plea for parents to keep a close eye on their children at the beach this weekend after responding to 68 separate missing children reports last weekend across the UK Coast.

All children were found safely, but with so many reports, many UK Coastguards rescue teams have increased their regular patrols.

beach
PA

Mark Rodaway duty commander for UK Coastguard said: "There's always a possibility that children may get into difficulties even in shallow water or injure themselves on slippery rocks."

Public toilets at Cornish beach re-open

BBC Radio Cornwall

The toilets at Trebarwith Strand near Tintagel have been re-opened.

Having been controlled by Cornwall Council, it was taken over by the parish council before regular problems meant they handed it back.

Toilets
BBC

It had been closed since last winter, prompting anger from local people and visitors.

For now, a solution has been found, with a charge of 20p for use.

Knight honoured to lead England on home soil

James Law

BBC Sport Online

To mark Women's Sport Week 2017, England captain Heather Knight has written a column for the BBC Sport website to look ahead to the Women's World Cup, which starts tomorrow.

The 26-year-old, from Plympton, will lead at the side at Derby as they face India in their opening match.

Heather Knight
BBC Sport

Knight, an all-rounder, started playing in an all-boys team at the age of nine, and has overcome a fracture in her left foot to be fit for the tournament.

Basking sharks 'abandon' Cornish coast

A basking shark expert says hardly any of the creatures have been spotted around the Cornish coast this year, even though conditions have been near perfect.

Colin Speedie who is from Falmouth has been telling BBC Radio Cornwall that he believes climate change could be responsible.

He says it's led to changes in plankton distribution, which have lured the sharks several hundred miles further north off the coast of Scotland.

Basking shark
BBC

In the last month as you know we've had some fantastic hot weather, high pressure settled weather and the sea has been pretty calm for the most part, and lots and lots of productive tidal fronts have set up in and around south Cornwall and these would be pretty much ideal conditions for seeing basking sharks."

Colin SpeedieBasking shark expert

Cornwall College cladding 'not same as Grenfell'

Tests are being done on tower blocks around the country, including in Devon and Cornwall to see if they have cladding similar to that used on Grenfell Tower in London where there was a devastating fire last week.

Cornwall College has been checking its buildings.

Camborne College Tower
Google

A spokeswoman said: "None of our buildings are covered in the same cladding as Grenfell Tower.

"The cladding on the Tamar Tower at Camborne campus is very different, being made entirely of non-combustible materials and with fire stops at each floor level."

In Plymouth, work is beginning in the next couple of days to remove the cladding from three tower blocks in Devonport.

Truro sign former Torquay midfielder Harding

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Truro City have signed former Torquay United midfielder Ben Harding.

The 32-year-old started his career at Chelsea, and has since played for the likes of Aldershot and Northampton.

Ben Harding
Getty Images

Harding spent two seasons at Torquay, leaving Plainmoor in 2015, and ended last season playing for Truro's National League South rivals Gosport.

Devon and Somerset £16m fire control centre not used in 10 years

BBC Spotlight

It's emerged the new fire control centre for Devon and Somerset in Taunton has remained unused, ever since it was built 10 years ago.

The BBC has now learned that the total cost to taxpayers has reached almost £16m - that's nearly double the amount it actually cost to build it in the first place.

Fire Control Centre in Taunton
BBC

Tam McFarlane, from the Devon and Somerset Fire Brigades Union, said: "It's absolutely extraordinary to me that politicians can't find people to take it over, they need to start using their imagination.

"At this time of heightened security why can't the security services use it. In any event there has to be an end to this waste of taxpayers money."

Access route to Fistral closed

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

One of Cornwall's busiest beaches has had an access route closed for the summer.

The path through the dunes on to the beach at South Fistral has become eroded and so Cornwall Council has taken the decision to close it.

South Fistral
BBC

The council says it "will be looking at potential schemes to repair the route once the busy summer period has finished".

Alternative access to South Fistral is available down steps next to the cafe.