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  1. Teenager dies and another seriously injured in A39 crash
  2. Money and tobacco stolen in shop knifepoint robbery
  3. Severe sickness bug shuts Plymouth school
  4. Cornwall looking at county-wide alcohol prices
  5. Car recovered from River Dart
  6. Updates on Tuesday 19 December 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 Wednesday 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 and you can always get the latest news for your area from the BBC.

Police bosses get power to raise council tax portion

Ben Woolvin

BBC South West Home Affairs correspondent

A potential £450m in extra funding for police in England and Wales in the next financial year has been announced by the Home Office.


Police and crime commissioners are to be given the power to raise the portion of council tax which goes towards policing by £12 per household annually.

That would raise £270m, while £130m for national priorities, such as firearms, would come from central government.

An extra £50m for counter terrorism has already been pledged.

Devon and Cornwall Commissioner Alison Hernandez has welcomed the increased flexibility on the police budget she controls, but added she was still considering whether to ask all to pay more council tax.

Dogs taken from kennels and homes

Rob England

BBC News Online

A dog has been found dead, and others reported missing following several thefts last week in North and South Molton, police say.

Nelly, Grace and Hope, dogs
George Butt
Nelly, Grace and Hope were taken from kennels in North Molton

The first incident happened last Friday. Officers said three dogs - all pedigree cocker spaniels - were removed from kennels on The Square in North Molton between 09:00 and 17:00.

The same day, between 19:00 and 21:00, a cocker spaniel was taken from a kennel at a property on Oakford Close in North Molton.

The dog, called Ivy, was found dead at Bommertown Cross at 08:00 the following morning.

The final incident happened on Sunday at about 10:00 at Rose Ash in South Molton, where a female brown cocker spaniel and a female black and white spaniel were reported missing.

A police spokesman said the force was "very concerned" about the welfare of the dogs.

PCSOs' work a 'valuable tool in fight against slavery'

Three Devon and Cornwall Police community support officers (PCSOs) have had the work they do supporting migrant workers commended by the British Academy.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the PCSOs were told they were a "valuable tool in fight against modern slavery" at a presentation in the House of Commons.

Migrant worker PCSOs Steve Edser, from east Cornwall, Bev Faull from west Cornwall and Mel Spiller, from mid Devon, interact with migrant communities

Their work includes trying to change migrants' perception of the police, to help employers to protect migrants’ rights and to recognise and report crimes; to tackle hate crime and to serve as a bridge between migrants and other services.

The academy is the UK's national body for humanities and social sciences.

Bones point to first turkey dinners

Jon Kay

BBC News

Tucking into turkey at Christmas goes back to the 16th Century and bones found in Exeter appear to prove it.

Exeter University

The bones found under an Exeter street have been analysed and linked to the period when the first turkeys were brought to England from the Americas in the early 16th Century.

Soon after the bird became very popular at Christmas dinners and was a common sight by the 1570s.

Exeter University

The bones may have come from descendants of the turkeys which Mr Strickland sailed back with.

Professor Alan Outram, zooarchaeologist and Head of Archaeology at Exeter, said: "As the date of these bones overlaps with the historical evidence of Stickland's introduction of the birds, the remains of this feast may well represent the earliest physical evidence for a turkey dinner in Britain."

Rare monkey born at Paignton Zoo

BBC Radio Devon

View more on twitter

A rare monkey has been born at Paignton Zoo.

The endangered sulawesi crested macaque was born on Sunday to parents Annaka and Hickory.

Keepers said the little furry newborn was healthy, but were yet to determine the sex or give it a name.

HMS Ocean arriving back at home port early

Andrew Segal

BBC Local Live

HMS Ocean. Pic: MoD

Plymouth-based warship HMS Ocean is returning home from deployment on Tuesday night instead of Wednesday because of forecast fog, the Royal Navy says.

The helicopter carrier and fleet flagship is now due back at Devonport at about 18:30.

It is due to be decommissioned next year after what the navy described as "an illustrious career".

It left Plymouth at the end of August for its last deployment, carrying out security duties in the Mediterranean.

It also took humanitarian aid to British overseas territories hit by Hurricane Irma.

Weather: Foggy with rain and drizzle, mild on Wednesday

BBC Weather

Cloud will thicken and lower this evening, with foggy conditions developing across moors, and occasional outbreaks of light rain and drizzle.

It will be a mild night, with only light winds. Minimum temperature: 5C (41F).


Similar grey, mild conditions will continue on Wednesday morning.

However, we will see some improvement from the west late in the day with some occasional sunny spells.

Maximum temperature: 13C (55F).

Arrest following 'shocking' incident in Plymouth Barbican

Devon Live

Armed police officers have arrested a man following "shocking" scenes on Plymouth Barbican.

Police were called to Looe Street at about 2.30pm following reports a man was in possession of a bladed weapon.

School in administration owes teachers £112,000 in wages

Sophie Pierce

BBC Radio Devon

A small private school in Paignton put into administration earlier today owes teachers £112,000 in unpaid wages.

In an unusual legal move, 23 teachers at the Element School - formerly known as Tower House School - took the school to the high court in Bristol, after working without pay for months.

The court put the school into administration and the owners who took it over earlier this year are no longer directors.

Administrators said they will be travelling to the school on Wednesday to meet teachers, parents and the owner of the building to try to come up with a rescue plan.

Element School

Cornwall travel: Penzance road blocked by accident

BBC Radio Cornwall

In Penzance, Battery Road is partially blocked due to an accident near Western Promenade Road, near the Jubilee Pool.

Toys R Us future in UK in doubt over pension scheme

BBC Business News

Toys R Us. Pic: Google

Toys R Us's future in the UK has been plunged into doubt after the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) said it would vote against the company's rescue plan.

The retailer was told to put £9m into its struggling pension fund by the PPF in order for it to support the toy retailer's restructuring plan.

Failure to agree a deal could put all its 3,200 staff at risk of redundancy.

The PPF's Malcolm Weir said it believed it was "reasonable" to seek guarantees on the pension scheme's future.

The store has branches in Plymouth (pictured) and Exeter, which are both due to close next year.

Devon travel: Problems in Kingsteignton and Cullompton

BBC Radio Devon

  • In Kingsteignton, there are reports of a collision on Newton Road, near Homers Lane
  • In Cullompton, Station Road is partially blocked by an accident near St Andrews Road by the fish and chip shop. There's very slow traffic with congestion to the M5
  • In Habertonford, there are reports of an accident on the A381 between Woodland Road and Jackman's Lane, Totnes, near the farm shop
  • In Bickington, there are reports of a fuel spillage on the A39 at the Roundswell Roundabout. Approach with care

Councillor 'devastated' at A39 fatal crash

Laurence Reed

BBC Radio Cornwall

A Cornwall Councillor says he is "devastated" at a fatal crash on the A39 in Cornwall that killed one teenager and seriously injured another.

The 18-year-old male from Roche died in the crash on the road between Truro and Falmouth road, just before the Norway Inn, at about midnight.

A 19-year-old man is in hospital in Plymouth with "serious and potentially life-threatening injuries" after the crash which saw a Vauxhall Corsa left on its roof.

The road was closed for more than eight-and-a-half hours for an investigation and vehicle recovery work.

Councillor Peter Williams said he had "worked tirelessly to try and sort out the route" because of previous crashes.

He said: "I thought we cracked this one, but there is obviously more work we need to do."


'Stop cafe from becoming second homes' say Bigbury people

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

Plans to turn a "much-loved" cafe in Bigbury-on-Sea into four holiday homes will be the "death knell" for the village, a planning appeal hearing was told.

Bay View

Developer Galion Homes wants to demolish the Bay View cafe, which overlooks the landmark Burgh Island in south Devon.

It says the local authority needs more houses and the cafe is "unviable" and is appealing against South Hams District Council's refusal of its plans.

Pam Trundle

Bigbury resident Pam Trundle told the planning inspector: "The cafe used to be packed, it was very popular and it was the heart of Bigbury-on-Sea.

"In my road there are only three people that live there permanently.

"We are fed up with people buying properties, knocking them down and rebuilding them as properties that won't be lived in."

Torbay police have 21 incidents and four missing people

Devon to join scheme to keep business rates

BBC Radio Devon

Devon is to join a pilot scheme where the county council will be allowed to keep 100% of business rates, the government has announced.

The county is one of 10 urban and rural authorities taking part.

Business rates are a property tax based on rental values. They currently keep up to 50% of the rates - the rest goes to Westminster.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid also announced that local authorities would be able to increase council tax by up to 3% without the need for a local referendum. The cap is currently set at 2%.

'Worst Christmas tree in Britain' removed

BBC Radio Cornwall

"Repeated acts of vandalism" have caused organisers to remove Camborne's notorious Christmas tree.

Camborne Christmas tree

Mel Martin, who manages the town's Business Improvement District said the tree, recently dubbed the "worst Christmas tree in Britain" by the national press, was being "regularly climbed".

She added, the final decision to remove the tree from the town square came after its star was removed, leaving "cables exposed".

Leg splint owl Boo Boo dies

Andrew Segal

BBC Local Live

Boo Boo the owl

A baby owl, who won hearts across the world after her legs had to be put in splints due to a rare disorder, has died, her home farm says.

Boo Boo, who was born at Handra Farm, Pelynt, in May, was born with a rare condition which meant her legs could not support her weight.

The Turkmenian eagle owl, who was just over six months old, needed to have ongoing treatment and live in especially adapted accommodation because she was not able to fly and was vulnerable to predators.

The farm said staff were "so sad" that she died on 12 December "very suddenly and unexpectedly".

The farm said: "Everyone here is utterly heartbroken as she was part of our family and such a character.

"We take comfort that we did everything possible for her, and although far too short, her life was filled with love, laughter and joy."

Delays and cancellations on trains between Salisbury and Exeter

View more on twitter

A fault on a steam train has led to delays on services between Salisbury and Exeter St Davids.

Services running between these stations may be cancelled, delayed by up to 40 minutes or revised and disruption is expected until 17:00 GMT.

Advisory board for Isles of Scilly ferry and flight group

BBC Radio Cornwall

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group is giving Scilly residents a chance to contribute their views on the future of the group by joining a steamship advisory board.

Applications to register an interest in joining the board were open to permanent residents of the islands, it said.

The board would be made up of eight or more members and would act as a forum in which the group could discuss its services, performance and planned projects, it added.

The group operates ferry services between the islands and Cornwall, and Skybus flights.

Isles of Scilly

Council fights plans to demolish 'crucial' Bigbury-on-Sea cafe

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

A Devon council says keeping a threatened cafe in Bigbury-on-Sea is "crucial" for the local community.


About 70 residents packed their local hall at a planning appeal over proposals by Galion Homes to turn the Bay View Cafe in Bigbury-on-Sea into four homes.

Galion says the cafe, next to one of Bigbury's oldest buildings, is "unviable" and the area needs more homes.

But South Hams District Council says the cafe is a key part of the community.

Tom Jones, lead strategic planning officer, said: "We want to see vibrant communities and community hubs where the local people can meet and we want to stop facilities like the cafe from being closed."


Weather: Turning cloudier with some fog patches overnight

BBC Weather


There will be some spells of sunshine this afternoon, but turning cloudier from the north later.

As evening approaches, cloud will continue to thicken, with some fog patches developing over higher ground, and some light drizzle in places tonight. Staying frost-free.

Minimum temperature overnight: 5C (41F).

School in administration: Teachers interested in take-over

Sophie Pierce

BBC Radio Devon

Element School

A small private school in Paignton is in administration after failing to pay teachers.

In an unusual legal move, 23 teachers at the Element School - formerly known as Tower House School - won a high court hearing in Bristol earlier for it to go into administration.

The independent school has been in Paignton for many years, with a loyal following of local families, taking children from nursery age all the way up to 16.

Problems began after new owners took over in May.

Parents were asked for a large lump sum of £1,200 on top of fees, causing outrage. Teachers and pupils then started to leave, some staff were dismissed and others teachers told pupils they hadn't been paid.

There are believed to be only now about 45 pupils left, down from some 130 at the beginning of the term.

It's now over to the administrators, who will go in and see if they can find a solution. They are due to meet teachers, parents and the owner of the building on Wednesday.

Apparently there may be some interest from some teachers in seeing if they can run the school themselves.

Whoever takes over, there's going to be a lot of work to build the school back up to a going concern.

Mobility scooter destroyed in garage fire

Andrew Segal

BBC Local Live

A mobility scooter has been destroyed by a fire in a garage.

Firefighters from Barnstaple and South Molton were called to the scene in Oakdale Avenue, Swimbridge, at about 12:25.

The garage itself, which was attached to a house, suffered about 80% damage, firefighters said.

Major facelift of Newton Abbot's Market Walk approved

BBC Radio Devon

Plans for a major facelift of part of Newton Abbot town centre have been agreed.

Teignbridge planners gave given the go-ahead this morning to the first phase of a multimillion-pound overhaul of the ageing Market Walk shopping centre, which the district council owns.

It'll see the modernisation of the shop fronts and a glass cover over the pedestrian area.

No reindeer needed for Culdrose's Santa!

Park 'really pleased' at latest cockatoo chicks

Andrew Segal

BBC Local Live

Citron-crested cockatoos. Pic: Paradise Park
Paradise Park

The latest breeding success for a critically endangered cockatoo at a Cornwall attraction is being celebrated by its staff.

Paradise Park said two citron-crested cockatoos had been born to park residents Cedric (pictured below) and Barley.

The two chicks, of a sub-species of the yellow-crested cockatoo, which comes only from the island of Sumba in Indonesia, were doing well and staff were "really pleased".

Cedric the cockatoo. Pic: Paradise Park
Paradise Park

Park director Alison Hales explains "Cedric is, in fact, female but she was named before her sex was known, and the name stuck."

She added: "Over the years, Cedric and Barley’s chicks have been placed to create breeding pairs throughout Europe.

"They have had 20 chicks together, so their genes are well represented in the studbook which co-ordinates the species. A strong, genetically diverse, captive population is a back-up against extinction."

Severe accident: A386 Devon southbound

BBC News Travel

A386 Devon southbound severe accident, at Derriford Road affecting B3432 Plymbridge Road.

A386 Devon - A386 Tavistock Road in Plymouth blocked and queuing traffic inbound at Derriford Roundabout, because of an accident involving two vehicles. On the roundabout. Congestion to George Junction.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Remembering lost ones at Christmas

BBC News

Christmas can be a time when relatives who have died are especially missed.

People have been revealing why they hold certain everyday objects so close to them at this time of year.

Lost ones

Jill, from Devon:

My dad David Nicholls was an incredibly practical man and always kept a penknife in his pocket.

Dad died in 2013 from bowel cancer and his last knife was the thing that I commandeered.

I keep it in my paint box and use it to sharpen my pencils. As an artist it’s something I do a lot.

Each time I hold it in my hand I feel Dad’s hand - and I draw enormous comfort from it.

Growing up, Christmas was a special time in our house and Dad loved it. There was always a thrill when he brought home the Christmas tree.

I remember him using the knife to slit open the net the tree was wrapped in, letting it unfold.

Then he used it to whittle the base of the trunk, so it would fit into the holder.

He used it to trim the top of the tree, so it wouldn't scrape the ceiling and there would be enough room for the angel.

It’s by remembering these little things that Dad lives on, and perhaps in my own enthusiasm for Christmas trees that tend to scrape the ceiling.

The bigger the better - and when lit and decorated I silently offer a "How about that one dad!".

Pay row private school put into administration

Sophie Pierce

BBC Radio Devon

Element School

A small private school in Paignton has been put into administration after numerous problems, including failing to pay its teachers.

In an unusual legal move, 23 teachers at the Element School - formerly known as Tower House School - took it to the high court in Bristol to argue that it should be put into administration.

At a hearing this morning, the court agreed and the school is now in the hands of two administrators: Jon Law and Neil Maddocks.

Kirsten Clayton is no longer a director of the school.

The administrators said they would be travelling to the school on Wednesday to meet teachers, parents, and the owner of the building to try to come up with a rescue plan.

Cornwall alcohol pricing 'would hit pre-loading drinks'

BBC Radio Cornwall

There's a suggestion Cornwall should be allowed to set its own alcohol prices.

The council and others are working up a bid for more power over health policies, and one idea is to explore a county-wide approach to the cost of booze.

It follows a move in Scotland to set a minimum price per alcohol unit - probably at 50p. Designed to cut down on excessive drinking and improve people's health, it would mean paying at least £7.50 for a 3 litre bottle of cider.

Jez Bayes, Cornwall's alcohol strategy lead, said: "It's not going to send the price flying sky-high.

"Fifty pence a unit simply cuts out the cheapest end of the high-strength. It hits the sort of things that people drink for pre-loading before a night out in such a way that might cause them problems later."

Wine bottles

Abuse of MPs over Brexit 'truly shocking'

BBC Politics

Parts of the national press are being blamed for some MPs getting abuse over Brexit.

A number of Conservatives have called in the police after receiving threatening emails and tweets for leading a rebellion against their party last week.

The MPs were described as "mutineers" in the Daily Telegraph and "traitors" in the Daily Mail. Among them was the MP for Totnes, Sarah Wollaston.

She told the House of Commons that she advised her staff to work from home and not in her constituency office as a result.

She said: "When you listen to this stuff... it is truly shocking and unacceptable."

Sarah Wollaston

HMS Queen Elizabeth leak: 'It's clearly embarrassing'

Jonathan Beale

BBC defence correspondent

Britain's biggest warship, aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, is taking on hundreds of litres of seawater every hour because of a leak.

The vessel, which had a Devon shipyard involved in its construction and has personnel from across the South West among its crew, was only accepted into the Royal Navy fleet by Her Majesty The Queen earlier this month.

The Royal Navy said the Portsmouth-based ship was scheduled for repair and the fault would not affect the programme of sea trials.

HMS Queen Elizabeth graphic

The navy is trying to play down the problem, after first trying to hide it, but it is clearly embarrassing.

They have known about the problem for some time but they did not want it to get in the way of the commissioning ceremony in front of the Queen.

The truth is similar leaks in other warships are not unusual and can be fixed relatively easily.

The difference this time though is the scale of HMS Queen Elizabeth, and the fact she has just been handed over to the navy.

The big question is whether the leak can be fixed while it is still in the water.

The navy insists the job can be done without her going back to dry dock, which would be costly and add to delays.

Either way, the navy insists the fault will have to be rectified and paid for by the contractors, along with a list of other "snags".

Jamie and Natalie Chestney

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

BBC Sport meets Jamie and Natalie Chestney, the husband and wife hoping to win gold for England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Read more

Teenager killed in A39 crash from Roche

Andrew Segal

BBC Local Live

An 18-year-old man who died in a road crash on the A39 in Cornwall was from Roche, police say.

Officers said they were were called to a Vauxhall Corsa found on its roof on the A39 Truro to Falmouth road, just before the Norway Inn, at about midnight.

The male died at the scene. A 19-year-old man is in hospital in Plymouth with "serious and potentially life-threatening injuries".

The road between Devoran and Treluswell was closed for more than eight-and-a-half hours for an investigation and vehicle recovery work.

Police have appealed for witnesses.


How much space will £100 rent get you?


Rent graphic

Spending £100 a month on rent in London secures floor space equivalent to a small garden shed, compared with nearly five times that in parts of the South West, data released to BBC News shows.

The government said it was increasing spending on affordable housing.

Man taken to hospital after bike and car crash on A38

Devon Live

One man was taken to hospital after a bike and car crashed on the busy A38 on Monday night.

The injured man was taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth after the crash near the Smithaleigh junction.