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  1. Man who tried to smuggle child-like sex doll into Britain spared jail
  2. Cornwall's hospitals receive watchdog warning notice
  3. Older people in Devon who drink too much alcohol get support to help cut back
  4. South West river salmon stocks "worst they've been in living memory"
  5. Cornish swimmers attempt treacherous charity trek swim from north Devon to Lundy Island
  6. Updates on Friday 1 September

Live Reporting

By Johnny O'Shea

All times stated are UK

Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Devon and Cornwall have finished for the week, 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 on your BBC Local Radio station.

Pair conquer Lundy Island swim

Sophie Malcolm

BBC News Online

Pair attempt legendary Devon swim

Two men have managed to complete an epic swim that has only ever been recorded once before.

The pair, from Bude, swam 11 miles from Hartland Point to Lundy Island in "difficult conditions".

The last time it was done was in 1952.

Latest weather: A dry night and a sunny Saturday

Holly Green

BBC Weather

Any isolated showers will ease giving a dry night. Clear skies and light winds will lead to a chilly feel with a chance of some mist and fog forming especially in prone spots. Minimum temperature: 9C (48F).


Good spells of sunshine and light winds are due for much of Saturday. It will turn cloudier later in the afternoon, with an increasing breeze and rain moving in from the west during the evening and overnight. Maximum temperature: 19C (66F).

Attempted child-like sex doll smuggler 'never acted inappropriately to children'

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

A paedophile who tried to smuggle a child-like sex doll into Britain "never acted remotely inappropriately to children", his defence team told a court.

Brian Hopkins admitted eight charges, including trying to evade customs legislation regarding the importation of a "child sex doll, which was an indecent or obscene article"; three offences of possessing extreme pornographic images, and four of making child pornography.

Brian Hopkins
National Crime Agency

The 40-year-old, of Seymour Road, Plymouth, was arrested after customs officials at Heathrow Airport found the 1.2m-high sex toy addressed to him last October.

His defence lawyer, Ali Rafati, said his client had "very little experience of sexual contact" in his life.

Judge Paul Darlow said there was a "low risk" of Hopkins offending against children.

But he added it was a "very sad fact of life and a dark reflection on our community" that such dolls were "becoming part of the paraphernalia of child abuse".

Hopkins was given a 10-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to attend a rehabilitation course and barred from working with young children for life. He was also ordered to pay £425 costs.

BBC Radio 3: Exeter gets Exposure

BBC Radio 3

Verity Sharp hosted this month's Exposure at the Exeter Phoenix, showcasing new and experimental music in various genres, performed by artists based in the locality.

Beach driver given suspended sentence

A 38-year-old man who drove his car onto a Newquay beach while over the legal alcohol limit has been given a suspended sentence.

Darius Andreikenas, of Edgcumbe Avenue, Newquay, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol at Bodmin Magistrates' Court and was given an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Car on beach
Devon and Cornwall Police

His car had to be towed from Great Western Beach on 9 May after he drove to the shoreline while four times over the drink-drive limit.

Child sex dolls 'are obscene', judge ruled

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A Plymouth man being given a suspended jail sentence for trying to smuggle a child-like sex doll into Britain comes just over a month after another judge ruled such an item was obscene.

Forty-year-old Brian Hopkins, of Seymour Road, Plymouth, has been given a 10-month jail sentence at the city's Crown Court, suspended for two years, for his attempt to import the 1.2m-high sex toy.

Doll. Pic: National Crime Agency
National Crime Agency

Earlier this year, in an unconnected case, lawyers for former primary school governor David Turner had tried to argue such a doll was not covered by a law banning the importation of obscene items.

Under the 1979 Customs and Excise Management Act, it is against the law to import obscene or indecent items. Other men have been convicted for importing child sex dolls, but Turner's was the first case where the question of whether a doll was indecent or obscene had been tested by the courts.

In the case of 72-year-old Turner, of Ramsgate, Kent, the judge dismissed his legal team's arguments in July, saying "any right-thinking person" would find the doll (pictured) obscene.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the Turner ruling was the "first of its kind".

Cornwall's hospitals 'must deliver improvements' in three months

Hospital inspectors have told the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust it "must make significant improvements in the care of patients" by the end of November.

The Care Quality Commission has given the trust a warning notice, ahead of a full inspection report after a visit in July.

Areas needing urgent attention include: the numbers of specialist children's nurses, maintaining patient confidentiality, and making sure there are enough staff to cope with patient needs.

Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust sign

Mary Cridge, from the CQC, said: "We have told Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust that it must deliver significant and sustainable improvements to the quality of care that it provides to patients throughout the trust by 30 November 2017.

She added: "In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the service and return at a later date to check that satisfactory improvements have been made."

Trust Chief Executive Kathy Byrne said the trust would "respond swiftly and effectively to each of the CQC recommendations".

Sex picture sent by election candidate to Labour rival leads to disciplinary action

Devon Live

A Liberal Democrat election candidate faces disciplinary action by after sending an explicit image showing him to a female Labour rival.

Man who tried to smuggle child-like sex doll into Britain spared jail

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

Brian Hopkins

A paedophile who tried to smuggle a child-like sex doll into Britain has been spared jail.

Forty-year-old Brian Hopkins was arrested after a Border Force officer at Heathrow Airport last October found the 1.2m-high sex toy addressed to Hopkins in Plymouth.

Police later found 600 indecent images of children on his computer, Plymouth Crown Court was told.

Hopkins, of Seymour Road in the city, admitted a total of eight charges.

He admitted trying to evade customs legislation regarding the importation of a "child sex doll, which was an indecent or obscene article".

He also admitted three offences of possessing extreme pornographic images and four of making child porn.

He was given a 10-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

Thumbs up from the Lundy swimmers

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Lundy swimmers

Cornishmen Steve Maclure and Gary Readman give the BBC drone a thumbs up after swimming to Lundy Island, off north Devon, from Hartland Point.

The pair finished their 11-mile trek in choppy conditions in the Bristol Channel earlier this afternoon.

The last time the challenge was completed was 65 years ago, in 1952.

Travel in Devon: Problems in Plymouth and on A38 Caton

BBC Radio Devon

  • In Plymouth, on Mannamead Road, near Seymour Road, there are reports of an accident
  • On the A38 at Caton, heading towards Plymouth, there are reports the road is blocked due to an accident

Hill climb driver died when brakes failed

A man died when his car had a complete brakes failure while taking part in a hill climbing event on Dartmoor, an inquest in Exeter has heard.

Colin Butt and his co-driver were thrown from their Marlin kit car as it slid backwards down a steep hill, crashed into a bank and flipped over.

Paul Moody

The 66-year-old driver from Uffculme, Devon, died from multiple injuries. His passenger survived.

The car had been doing around 30mph when it came to a complete stop 20 yards from the top of a hill, and should have descended in a controlled way.

The passenger operated the hand brake and Mr Butt used the foot brake, but a loss of brake fluid meant the foot pedal went straight to the floor, the hearing was told.

The pair were competing in the 88th Exeter Trial in January on National Trust land at Fingle Woods, Devon.

Coroner John Tomalin recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

Nine areas for improvement highlighted to Cornwall's hospitals

A letter from inspectors has told Cornwall's hospitals areas that must improve, ahead of its inspection report being published.

The Care Quality Commission inspected the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust in July. The trust is made up of the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance and St Michael's in Hayle.

The trust has written to all of its staff, outlining nine areas for improvement they've been told about in a warning letter.

West Cornwall Hospital

The letter to staff says the areas include:

  • Critical Care - "reducing discharge delays from the critical care unit"
  • Children and young people services - "ensuring sufficient qualified nursing staff in the paediatric emergency department to ensure safe care at all times"
  • Incidents - "the systems and processes for identifying, reviewing and grading incidents as well as the timeliness of investigating incidents"

Trust Chief Executive Kathy Byrne said the trust would "respond swiftly and effectively to each of the CQC recommendations".

Devon travel: Accident near Instow

BBC Radio Devon

  • In Axminster, on the A358 near Abbey Gate Lane, there are reports of an accident
  • In Barnstaple, the A39 is partially blocked, between the Roundswell roundabout and the Instow turn-off, due to an accident
  • In Paignton, on the A385 Totnes Road around Tweenaway Cross, there are reports of slow traffic due to an accident

Cornwall travel: Broken down lorry reported

BBC Radio Cornwall

On the A38 eastbound near Doublebois, between the B3360 and the Twelvewoods roundabout, we've got reports there's a broken down lorry.

New paper for new town

A new newspaper has been announced to serve the expanding community of Cranbrook on the outskirts of Exeter.

It will be a free fortnightly tabloid, to be called the Cranbrook News, set up by the owner-editor of another paper, the Moorlander, Stuart Clarke.


It aims to cover local news, features, events, arts and entertainment and sport, including coverage of Exeter City FC and Exeter Chiefs rugby.

The paper will have a print run of 2,000 and 24 pages to start and will be delivered door to door, to local hotels, restaurants and cafes in the area.

The Lundy swim - they make it

View more on facebook

Cornishmen Steve Maclure and Gary Readman have finished a swim that has only ever been successfully completed once before in recent decades.

The pair have reached Lundy Island off north Devon after setting off from Hartland Point this morning.

They set off on the 11-mile minimum swim, in choppy conditions in the Bristol Channel, to raise money for charity.

The last time the challenge was completed was 65 years ago, in 1952.

See them arrive at the island above.

Weather: Plenty of sun

BBC Weather

A bright day with sunny periods with just a little patchy cloud drifting around with a light or moderate northerly breeze.

Maximum temperature: 19C (66F).


Staffing and equipment checks among areas for hospital improvement

Staff working for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust have received a letter telling them how the trust must improve.

The letter from Chief Executive Kathy Byrne tells staff that a warning letter from Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors demands immediate changes in a number of areas.

The warning notice was sent ahead of the CQC inspection report being published from its visit in July.

Hospital signs

Among the areas for improvement explained in the letter are:

  • Staffing - "ensuring there are sufficient numbers of staff at all times; this was particularly identified in specific areas of maternity"
  • Equipment - "evidence that equipment checks have been carried out with up to date maintenance records"
  • Governance systems - "improving governance systems to ensure patient confidentiality is maintained at all times, that our duty of candour is applied in all relevant cases and there is consistently effective management of poor behaviour, grievances and performance"

Ms Byrne said the trust would "respond swiftly and effectively to each of the CQC recommendations".

Travel: A361 closed in police incident

BBC Radio Devon

In Tiverton, the A361 is closed in both directions between the Bolham Roundabout and Gornhay Cross due to a police incident.

The Lundy swimmers - they're there in the distance

Lucie Fisher

BBC Spotlight

View more on twitter

Two brave Cornishmen have been battling cold water and quite a few waves swimming between Hartland Point and Lundy Island off north Devon.

Steve Maclure and Gary Readman are trying to finish a swim that has only ever been successfully completed once before - 65 years ago, back in 1952.

Is this a hungry ship eating a landing craft off Plymouth?

BBC reporter Jane Chandler is on the high seas today, filming Plymouth-based Royal Navy amphibious assault ship HMS Albion.

View more on twitter

Survey puts Exeter airport among the best

Exeter Airport has been ranked in the top five nationally for customer satisfaction.

The Which? consumer group survey of UK airports found it rated highly for bag drop, check-in, security and passport control queues, shopping and catering, seating, toilets and staff.

Exeter airport

Exeter Airport was rated in the top section in the smaller airports category, and had a fifth place listing overall.

Warning about 'left my lunch behind' beggar

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Police in Bodmin are warning people not to give money to a beggar whose excuses in asking for cash apparently include that he "left his packed lunch behind" or he had "been locked out of his house accidentally".

Officers said on Facebook that they had "received numerous calls" during the past two weeks about the male in the town centre and nearby housing estates.

He was described as about 50 years old, 6ft tall, slim to medium build, with short cropped ginger coloured hair and often seen with an electric bicycle and an orange coloured rucksack.

Officers said: "This male is not homeless or without money ... Please be vigilant and do not, under any circumstances, give any amount of money to him (or anyone else) despite their claims."

Seven die on Cornwall, Devon and Dorset's roads in a week

Cliff diver: 'Like getting a Mike Tyson upper cut'

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

Owen Weymouth, 18, relies on his training and nerves of steel as he plummets towards the water at 60mph in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

But what is it like, and what exactly are the dangers if you mess up?

We spoke to the young diver, from Plymouth, and Chris Shepherd of the Institute of Physics.

Fears for boy after open medicine capsule found in juice carton

Devon Live

A boy is feared to have swallowed the contents of what appears to be a medical capsule found in the bottom of a juice carton.

Police hunt for missing teenager in Newquay area

View more on twitter

Police said he was last seen at about 19:45 on Wednesday.

Officers said they were undertaking searches in and around Newquay with a police helicopter assisting.

Right here, right now: Dance music festival in Powderham

BBC Radio Devon

The South West's biggest dance music festival gets underway at Powderham Castle near Exeter today.

Thousands are expected to attend the Lockdown Festival, with special guests including Fatboy Slim, Dizzy Rascal and Sigma.

Festival goers at Powderham Castle

Devon and Cornwall Police are working with the National Crime Agency for the first time this year so their officers will be on patrol inside and outside the festival, and drug sniffer dogs will also be working.

Last year, six people were arrested for drug offences.

We took our headline here from Fatboy Slim's hit Right Here, Right Now.

Water supply problems in South Molton

Cornwall's hospitals told to improve

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust has been given advance warning of areas that it must improve, ahead of an inspection report being published.

The trust, which includes the main acute hospital at Treliske in Truro, West Cornwall in Penzance and St Michael's in Hayle, had an inspection in July.

RCHT sign

The Care Quality Commission has written a warning letter, and the trust has now taken the step of writing to staff outlining the main areas of concern.

The letter says these include:

  • Outpatients - "in particular the way we monitor and manage patients waiting for cardiology and ophthalmology appointments and procedures"
  • Surgical services - "reducing delays and cancellations of surgical patients as well as ensuring compliance at all times with the World Health Organisation Five Steps to Safer Surgery checklist" ·
  • Maternity services - "consistency in identifying and managing women whose condition is deteriorating as well as staff training for managing patients needing high dependency care"

Next week, the trust is holding a series of face to face briefings for its staff.

Police helicopter in 'low and slow search'

Technical problems on BBC Radio Devon

BBC Radio Devon

We are experiencing some technical problems, especially if you listen on iPlayer or on Freeview. Engineers are working on it so please bear with us.

Cornwall travel: Broken down lorry on A30

BBC Radio Cornwall

At Scorrier, on the A30 eastbound, there's a broken down lorry blocking the inside lane just before the Scorrier junction.

Devon Travel: Traffic light problems in Exeter

BBC Radio Devon

  • In Exeter, traffic lights at Western Way and Exe Bridges remain out of order
  • In Plymouth, on the A386 Tavistock Road, there's slow traffic heading outbound
  • In Plymouth, at Sutton Harbour, the footbridge across Sutton Lock is closed due to a mechanical fault. The ferry remains available - charges apply

Attempted robbery and assault in Paignton

A 25-year-old man had a knife pulled on him as two thieves attempted to steal his toolbag, police say.

The incident happened on 12 July in the alleyway between New Street and Palace Avenue in Paignton.

One of the men then pulled out a bladed article and held it to the victim’s chest, causing minor scratches and cuts, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

Paignton alleyway

The second man then punched the victim in the head, causing bruising and swelling.

Det Con Terry Maidens, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "Male one is described as white, between 5ft 9ins to 6ft tall, of a slim build, approximately 25-years-old, wearing blue jeans and a black hoody.

"The second man is described as of mixed-ethnicity, approximately 5ft 9ins to 6ft tall of a slim build, wearing black trousers and a black zip-up hooded top."

Agricultural building blaze in St Stephen