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Summary

  1. Devon and Cornwall Police 'need to improve' in some areas
  2. 'Lives could be at risk' over unreleased coastguard report
  3. Police officer found not guilty of rape
  4. Funeral for Looe girl killed in car 'ice-slide'
  5. Cornwall swimmer Jonathan Fox out of Commonwealth Games
  6. Royal Cornwall Hospital no longer on black alert
  7. Horse has hair shaved in 'suspicious activity'
  8. Updates from Monday 19 March until Friday 23 March 2018

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Weather: Sunny spells, a few showers and mild

BBC Weather

A mild day with sunny spells, but also one or two showers, which could be heavy with the risk of thunder this afternoon.

It will remain breezy through the day.

Maximum temperature: 9 to 12C (48 to 54F)

Alex Osborne
BBC
England and Exeter number eight Sam Simmonds

Joe Simmonds kicks a penalty five minutes from time to send Exeter 11 points clear at the top of the Premiership.

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Pair treated after inhaling chemicals in Falmouth

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

Two people from Falmouth have been taken to hospital after accidentally mixing chemicals and inhaling the fumes.

Paramedics treated them at the scene before transferring them to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro for further examination.

Firefighters entered the property to find the chemicals, before removing them and ventilating the home. They established the gas inhaled was chlorine.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue say they were called to the incident at 15:00, and sent crews from Falmouth and Tolvaddon.

A support vehicle from St Just and the environment support vehicle from Penzance was also called out.

Drug couriers jailed following Exeter arrest

Jenna Hawkey

BBC News Online

Shahbaz Malik and Martell Ramocan
Devon and Cornwall Police

A pair of drug couriers have been jailed after bringing £4,000 worth of heroin and cocaine to Exeter inside their bodies.

Shahbaz Malik and Martell Ramocan (pictured above) were arrested when police raided the home of a vulnerable drug user in Harrington Lane, Exeter, on 10 May 2016.

They had both been recruited by a drug gang, which offered Malik a place to stay as his reward and Ramocan settlement of a £200 cannabis debt.

Malik, 30, and Ramocan, 21, both of Hayes, West London, admitted possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to supply and were jailed for two years four months and two years respectively at Exeter Crown Court.

Police issue knife carrying warning

Twitter

Two jailed over horrific assault in Paignton

Jenna Hawkey

BBC News Online

Two men responsible for an attack which left a man with his ear bitten off and brain injuries, have been jailed.

Stephen Doyle and Samuel Bullen (pictured below) admitted to chasing down and violently attacking Colin McLean in Torbay before beating him unconscious in Lower Polsham Road, Paignton on 11 January.

The victim was left with part of his right ear missing, a bleed on the brain, a broken eye socket, broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Stephen Doyle and Samuel Bullen
Devon and Cornwall Police

Doyle, 29, of St Mary’s Park, Collaton St Mary, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent, and a separate assault by beating on a woman on the same evening.

He was sentenced to eight years and two months in prison.

Bullen, 22, of Mimosa Way, Paignton, admitted unlawful wounding but denied GBH and received 20 months in prison.

Weather: rain overnight will dry up through Saturday

BBC Weather

Tonight will be generally cloudy with outbreaks of rain.

Fresh southeasterly winds should turn to the northeast by morning.

There will be some low cloud over higher ground.

Minimum temperature: 4 to 7C (39 to 45F).

Weather map for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, 24 March
BBC

Saturday will remain largely cloudy with rain becoming increasingly patchy.

Most places will be dry by the evening with some brighter periods also developing.

Northeasterly winds will ease throughout the day.

Maximum temperature: 8 to 11C (46 to 52F).

Former health boss must repay stolen NHS funds

Jenna Hawkey

BBC News Online

A former NHS executive will have to repay more than £10,000 she stole from the health service.

Paula Vasco-Knight was the NHS's lead on Equality and Diversity and chief executive of the Torbay NHS Trust ,when she used health service funds to pay her husband for work that never existed.

The order was made at Exeter Crown Court after a year-long financial investigation into the couple's assets.

Paula and Stephen Vasco-Knight
BBC

Vasco-Knight, 54, of The Seasons, Runcorn, and her husband Stephen, 46, of the same address, both admitted a single count of fraud in January 2017.

The couple have now been ordered to repay the £11,072 to the NHS within three months or serve six weeks in prison, and must also pay £2,500 costs.

They were given suspended prison sentences for the offences in March 2017.

Kate Nesbitt and John List

Kate Nesbitt won the Military Cross for saving John List while they were under fire in Afghanistan.

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Boy, 17, in hospital with hip injury after bike crash

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A 17-year-old boy is in hospital with a hip injury after colliding with a pedestrian while on his bike, police have said.

Police and ambulance were called to Carlyon Road in St Austell, Cornwall at 16:35 on Thursday.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the cyclist's hip injury is "potentially serious". The pedestrian was not injured.

The road was blocked for a short time but has since been reopened.

Carlyon Road in St Austell
Google
It happened on Carlyon Road in St Austell

Duke of Cornwall watches performance by prison inmates

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

The Prince of Wales has been watching inmates at Dartmoor Prison perform songs from Carmen and Les Miserables.

He's in Devon to find out about the work of the Prison Choir Project - which is aiming to find a way to reduce reoffending by building self-esteem.

The inmates were joined by professional performance artists for the show. Adam Green, the founder of the project, said the project was a "wonderful experience" for the prisoners.

"They can really sing, they really can. I think they would stand up against any professional chorus. It has been, for all, an extraordinary experience."

More than 400 prisoners and prison staff have engaged with the project's work to date, including an opera in Dartmoor Prison and further programmes in HMP Kirkham and HMP Drake Hall.

Prince Charles
BBC

Prince Charles in Devon on Dartmoor Prison visit

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

The Duke of Cornwall has been in Devon today.

Prince Charles visited Dartmoor Prison in Princetown where he was told about the Prison Choir Project - which aims to rehabilitate prisoners and ex-offenders through the performance of opera, song, and choral music.

He listened to a brief performance by participants.

Prince Charles
BBC

Train services suspended between Penzance and Truro

BBC Radio Cornwall

Great Western Railway services have been suspended between Penzance and Truro due to a broken-down train at Camborne. Tickets are being accepted on local bus routes.

Kyle Moyle

Full-back Kyle Moyle and scrum-half Alex Day sign extended contracts with Championship side Cornish Pirates.

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Cornwall travel: Road partially blocked in Perranarworthal

BBC Radio Cornwall

At Perranarworthal, there are reports that the A39 is partially blocked near Cove Hill due to an accident.

Plymouth schoolchildren do their bit for Sport Relief

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

Tonight is the culmination of this year's Sport Relief appeal with a special programme on BBC 1, straight after BBC Spotlight.

People across Devon and Cornwall have been taking up sporting challenges throughout the week to help fundraise.

These children from Pilgrim Primary School in Plymouth have been singing the official Sport Relief Schools' song and getting to grips with some exercise.

Nursery safeguarding closures are not a police matter

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

Devon and Cornwall Police says the closure of four nurseries in north Devon for safeguarding reasons is not a police matter.

In a statement a spokeswoman for the force said: "The suspension of the licence for ‘Claire’s Nurseries’ in North Devon is not related to any police investigation and is a matter for Ofsted.

"We understand that Ofsted will be in contact with families in due course."

The nurseries affected are Claire's Flying Start Nursery, Claire's Little Bears Nursery and Claire's Newport Nursery in Barnstaple and Claire's Little Robins Nursery in Bideford.

Ofsted confirmed it has: "Suspended the registration of these four nurseries in Devon because we have received information that gives us cause to believe safeguarding arrangements are not secure."

Claire's Little Bears nursery
Google

Devon travel: Kingsbridge road blocked by accident

BBC Radio Devon

In Kingsbridge, the A379 Ilbert Road is blocked in both directions at West Alvington Hill due to an accident.

Church bells ring in memory of soldier

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

The bells of St. Michael’s Church in Beer, Devon, will ring next week in memory of a British soldier killed in France 100 years ago.

James Simmonds - a farm labourer - joined the army during World War One and served as a private in the 1st Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers.

He was killed on 27 March 1918 during the final German offensive of the war - becoming one of the 1,400 bell-ringers from the UK who died during the conflict.

Mr Simmonds never lived in Devon, but in 1963 the bells from Braywood - where he was a bell-ringer - were moved to the parish church in Beer.

The bells which he once rang will ring in his memory exactly 100 years after his death on 27 March.

St. Michael’s church, Beer
Google

Young people launch group to support 'bullied and abused'

Anna Varle

BBC News Online

A group of young people who have been bullied and abused are launching a new service to support others in the region.

Deadpencils - as they are known - are creating a support network for anyone experiencing hate crime.

They are also offering support by encouraging more young people to take part in creative events they're running - including a recent arts festival in Dartington.

Member of Deadpencils, Alex Speight-Kaye said: "Everyone who is going through a hard time always gets told 'It will get better'. Yes, it's such a classic phrase but it genuinely does get better. It might take a while, it might take months, it might take years - but everyone gets there eventually."

Smile - it's Friday!

Twitter

The donkeys at The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth have that Friday feeling!

donkey
THE DONKEY SANCTUARY

Cornwall swimmer Jonathan Fox out of Commonwealth Games

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

Cornwall's paralympic swimmer Jonathan Fox is out of next month's Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Along with fellow swimmer Ollie Hynd, he has withdrawn from the Team England squad after being reclassified.

As reported by the BBC earlier this month, the duo were subject of recent reclassifications as part of new rules by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) that require all para-swimmers to undergo international classification before the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020.

Jonathan Fox
BBC

Both were moved to categories where they will compete against less disabled opponents than they previously did and as a result, there is no event for them to participate in at the Commonwealth Games.

Fox, who won a gold medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, said he was "disappointed".

"It's a real shame. Hopefully, in the future, there will be more races for para-swimmers to take part in at multi-sport events so this doesn't happen again."

Bad weather takes its toll on local football clubs

BBC Radio Cornwall

Five-hundred football matches have been postponed in the South West Peninsula League due to the recent weather conditions.

Clubs across Devon and Cornwall are trying to fit in all the games before the end of the season in seven weeks time after heavy rain, snow and ice hit the region.

One team that's been affected is Bodmin Town Football Club, with team manager Darren Gilbert saying he's "never known a winter like it".

"You've only got to look over the history of this club, how many trophies we've won and what we've done - it's had a massive effect on us this year.

"We're just playing league games and we've probably got no chance of winning the league. We will probably be lucky if we come top four."

football
BBC

Devon travel: Accident blocks road in Paignton

BBC Radio Devon

In Paignton, Great Headland Road is blocked due to an accident around Great Headland Crescent.

Taxi marshal service will 'keep drivers and public safe'

Jenny Kumah

Daily and Sunday Politics reporter

A new taxi marshal service is being launched on Barbican Parade in Plymouth - with the aim to provide a safer waiting area for the public and taxi drivers.

As part of the new service, marshals will wear bodycams and manage the queues.

It's being funded by the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership for the next nine months, however some local taxi drivers want it to be rolled out across the whole of the city.

taxis on the Barbican
BBC

Ivor Edmunds, a member of the Plymouth Licensed Taxis Association, says the "alpha males and bullies" often "push people out of the way" to get into the taxi.

"Then when they get into the cab, you tell them to get out and then they start to have a go at you. That's why we need the marshals to stop all of this and to get people home."

Bus lane to be removed on busy Plymouth road

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

Two sections of bus lane could be removed from a road in Plymouth as part of the council’s Eastern Corridor Junction Improvement Scheme.

The bus lane on Plymouth Road in Plympton - outside the Lidl store - could be taken out and the lane at Coypool Road shortened under the scheme which aims to reduce journey times for drivers and improve pedestrian safety.

Plymouth Road
Google

Councillor Patrick Nicholson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport, Housing and Planning said: “Plymouth Road is a key route for people travelling into the city from the east and it has seen a lot of changes over the year. By removing these small sections, we hope this will make the traffic flow more easily.”

Proposals for the scheme can be found here.

Cornwall travel: Broken-down vehicle near Penzance

BBC Radio Cornwall

Near Penzance on the A30 at the Heamoor roundabout, there are reports of a broken-down vehicle.

Horse has hair shaved in 'suspicious activity' in Tintagel

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

Police are appealing for witnesses after a report of "suspicious activity" involving a horse.

The animal - which was in a field near Treven in Tintagel, Cornwall - had part of its hair shaved.

No harm was caused to the horse, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

It happened between 10:00 and 18:00 on 19 March and anyone with information is being asked to contact police via 101.

Caravan destroyed in Bude fire

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A caravan has been destroyed in a fire in Bude.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service was called to Poundstock at about 23:50 on Thursday.

The fire service said the caravan could not be saved due to the intensity of the fire, but there were no injuries and the blaze was contained to a single plot.

caravan fire
BUDE COMMUNITY FIRE STATION
caravan fire
BUDE COMMUNITY FIRE STATION

Royal Cornwall Hospital no longer on black alert

BBC Radio Cornwall

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust is no longer on black alert after "two weeks of dogged devotion to improve patient flow".

The Chief Executive, Kathy Byrne has thanked staff and support workers on Twitter who dealt with large numbers of patients through the cold and wet weather.

tweet
Twitter

'Lives could be at risk' over unreleased coastguard report

Tamsin Melville

Political Reporter, BBC South West

Solstice
Family photo

Campaigners say a report into coastguard response times must be made public, over fears lives are being put at risk because of delays launching lifeboats.

The BBC's learnt that the conclusion of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch report was delivered to former shipping minister, John Hayes, in December.

It was prompted by the sinking of the Solstice fishing trawler off Plymouth last year, which was the latest of several fatal incidents.

Terri Portmann
BBC

Marine consultant Terri Portmann said: "The person who perished tragically that night would not have been saved by earlier tasking." She added there were other reports that listed "delays on coastguard tasking". "It's the magic hour, an hour of that doesn't need to be wasted thinking about what you're going to do."

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said its procedures ensure search and rescue resources are sent to the right area and in numerous cases, this cuts vital minutes off the time taken to locate casualties.

The Department for Transport is yet to comment on why the report has not been released.

Devon travel: Tree blocks half of the road in Crediton

Twitter

On the A377, a tree is blocking half of the road on the Crediton side of Station Road, Devon County Council has said.

View more on twitter

Snowy weather cost Devon '£1.2m' says councillor

Twitter

The two recent snow events to hit Devon cost the county about £1.2m, according to a Devon County Council councillor.

Stuart Hughes - who is a councillor for Sidmouth and also cabinet member for highways management - added that more than 21,000 tonnes of salt has been used on Devon's roads.

Snow hit the county last weekend when the 'Mini Beast from the East' arrived in the UK, just a fortnight after Storm Emma met the original Beast from the East.

View more on twitter

International mining teams battle it out

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Students from Camborne School of Mines are preparing to battle it out with teams from across the world in the 40th International Mining Games at the end of the month.

King Edward Mine will host the four-day event with teams taking part from mining schools in the United States, Brazil, Europe, Australia and the UK.

The mine - originally part of the Condurrow Mine, near Camborne - was taken over by the School of Mines in 1897 to teach Cornish miners their skills, but it has been run as a heritage museum since 1987 and is now owned by Cornwall Council.

19th Century Cornish miner
Excess Energy
19th Century Cornish miner

Teams will compete in seven events of traditional mining methods in order to preserve those methods and also to commemorate those who have lost their lives in the industry.

Camborne School of Mines, which is part of the University of Exeter, has been producing engineers for nearly 130 years and offers the only mining engineering degree in the UK.

View more on twitter

Weather: Sunny spells with the chance of a shower later

BBC Weather

It will be bright through much of today with sunny spells.

However, it will be hazy at times with the odd light shower.

Cloud will build later with the risk of rain by this evening.

Maximum temperature: 7 to 10C (45 to 50F).

Weather forecast
BBC

Devon travel: Sheep on the road in Modbury

BBC Radio Devon

In Modbury, on the A379 between the B3392 and Fore Street, there are sheep on the road. Approach with care.