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  1. Updates on Thursday 7 July 2016

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

You'll be able to catch up on the latest about Dartmoor's missing lynx on BBC Spotlight. There will also be news through the night on BBC Radio Devon and BBC Radio Cornwall.

Arson attack Polish family 'don't feel safe anymore'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A Polish woman whose house was targeted in a suspected racially-motivated arson attack in Plymouth says she doesn't "feel safe anymore” and things have been "very intense after the [EU] referendum".

Police said the fire was "started deliberately" in a shed situated close to the house in Blandford Road, Efford, between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, damaging the house itself. A threatening letter was also sent.

Shed. Pic: Ewa Banaszak
Ewa Banaszak

Ewa Banaszak said: "We’ve had verbal comments over the last couple of years but it has intensified after the vote, and now this which is the most serious incident yet. Two days ago my little brothers were out in the park playing and a group of children started throwing stones at them, shouting: 'Go back to your own country'. One of the mums joined in, which shocked me as I thought she would know better."

She added: "I have had lots of messages of support and I know not everyone wants us gone, but it is enough people to make an impact on our lives”.

'Various meats' to tempt missing lynx into traps

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Traps being set out to capture a lynx which has escaped from a Devon zoo will contain various types of meat to tempt him inside, zoo managers say.

Lynx. Pic: Dartmoor Zoo
Dartmoor Zoo

Newly-arrived lynx Flaviu was discovered missing from Dartmoor Zoo this morning, prompting the organisation of search teams in the local area.

The zoo said humane traps of "ample size", so as not to hurt Flaviu, were being laid out. Once inside, it said, the door will then close behind him, allowing the animal to be safely returned to the zoo.

Bobbies on the beach: Wheels in motion for Segway patrols

View more on twitter

Police in Cornwall have started using Segways to patrol a stretch of coastline around the Newquay area.

They'll be used in a bid to tackle low-level crime such as drinking. A company has donated the devices to the force for the summer trial.

Latest weather: Staying cloudy with chances of rain

David Braine, Weather Forecaster

Remaining mild tonight, although the skies will stay cloudy throughout. Outbreaks of rain or drizzle will develop through the night, and there will be a little hill fog in places. Minimum temperature: 14C (57F).


Friday is staying cloudy, with the continued risk of rain or drizzle, especially across the hills. Through the afternoon, the rain should ease with some late brightness possible. Maximum temperature: 20C (68F).

Oooh, those sock-napping police pups!

Latest headlines in Devon and Cornwall

Andrew Segal

Local Live

  • Police and zoo staff search for a lynx which has escaped from Dartmoor Zoo
  • The home of a Polish family in Plymouth is damaged by fire in a racially-motivated arson attack
  • French courts are to take no further action against a ski-lift company involved in a freak accident which killed Devon schoolboy Keiran Brookes
  • Staff in Padstow's lobster hatchery say they're worried their efforts to support lobster stocks could be scuppered by Brexit negotiations
  • Newquay Airport has had a boost, with new figures showing a sharp rise in the number of passengers - up 51% since last year

Parody Twitter account set up for Dartmoor Lynx

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

A parody Twitter account has been set up for the Dartmoor Lynx that has gone missing.

All this interest is making me sleepy. Time for a nap #DartmoorLynx

Police 'appalled' by arson attack on Polish family

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Police say they are "appalled" by an arson attack on a Polish family's home in Plymouth which they believe to be racially motivated. 

Arson attack

Officers said the fire was "started deliberately" in a shed situated close to the house in Blandford Road, Efford, overnight between Wednesday 6 July and Thursday 7 July. It spread to the house, causing "substantial damage". A "hate-filled letter" was also sent to them, containing further threats, police added.

Insp Darren Green said: "Hate crime has no place in Plymouth and we will do everything possible to locate those responsible for the fire and the disgusting letter sent to the victims."

Teacher abused boys at holiday home

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

A teacher sexually abused young boys at a school and at his holiday home.

Jonathan Thomson-Glover, 54, pleaded guilty to four counts of indecency with two children at a school in Winchester and at a holiday home in Cornwall. 

Jonathan Thomson-Glover

Thomson-Glover is already in jail at HMP Channings Wood for making indecent films of more than 120 pupils using hidden cameras at Clifton College. At Truro Crown Court, Recorder Martin Meeke QC sentenced Thomson-Glover to an additional six months in prison

The abuse took place at some point between 1987 and 1992, probably when the boys were 12-years-old. The court heard Thomson-Glover "befriended and charmed" the parents of the boys so they trusted him to take their sons to a holiday home.

Exeter face tough Premiership start

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Exeter have arguably the hardest start of the Premiership season after the league's fixtures were unveiled.

Exeter Chiefs
Getty Images

Last season's losing finalists open with a trip to Wasps - who they overcame in the Premiership semi-finals, but who beat them in a dramatic Champions Cup quarter-final - before hosting champions Saracens in their opening two games.

They then host Harlequins before a trip Bristol, who the Chiefs last met in 2010 when they beat them in the first-ever Championship play-off.

Missing lynx: Some sightings "more credible than others"

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

George Hyde, operations manager at Dartmoor Zoo, said: "We expect to make some progress over the coming hours. We hope to be open as usual to the general public tomorrow morning.

"All of that will be done with the cooperation with the local authority.

"Since our earlier news reports we have had a few reports of sightings in the local area, some more credible than others, and we are following up on those reports as we speak."

'Vicious' dog attack trial dropped

Andrew Segal

Local Live

The trial of a dog owner whose animal allegedly attacked a man in Truro, causing him serious head injuries, has been dropped, prosecutors have confirmed.

Peter Fitzgerald

Peter Fitzgerald said his pet dog, Kimbo, had to fight off what he called a "vicious" Pitbull Mastiff which had set on him in a park in Malabar in June 2015. He needed almost 200 stitches (pictured) after the attacking animal "basically started eating the back of my head".

Paul Lindsay-Jones, 52, from Truro, had pleaded not guilty to having a dog dangerously out of control in a park in Cornwall in October. The CPS said the case was dropped on 30 June because of a lack of evidence.

Calls for British laws to replace EU food protection post-Brexit

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Environment Secretary Liz Truss wants to use British law to protect food and drink from across the country after Brexit, including Cornish clotted cream and Cornish pasties.

Pasties. Pic: Getty Images
Getty Images

The cabinet minister told MPs that she was keen to develop "British protected food name status" as a replacement for the EU scheme currently in operation

Welsh beef and Melton Mowbray pork pies are also among the 74 items of produce Ms Truss said she believed were currently enjoying protected status under EU law which guarantees place of origin and authenticity. She said she thought it was "an extremely important issue". 

Missing lynx: Humane traps will be laid to trap animal

Update: Humane traps will be laid out which are of ample size for a Lynx and tempt him with meat, trapping him in there unharmed.

Farm worker deaths 'higher than that of the construction industry'

View more on twitter

As well as being higher than the construction industry, the rates are 17 times higher than the all-industries' average, figures from the Health and Safety Executive show. 

The data shows farm vehicle-related accidents and falling from heights were the biggest killers. There were 27 farm worker deaths in the country last year, down from 32 the year before.

Grimes heads to Leeds from Swansea

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Former Exeter City midfielder Matt Grimes has joined Leeds United on loan for the entire 2016-17 season from Premier League club Swansea City.

Matt Grimes
Getty Images

The England Under-21 international joins up with former Swans boss Garry Monk, who signed him as a teenager from Exeter for a club-record fee of £1.75m in January 2015.

Grimes, 20, has struggled to break into the Swansea first team, making only one Premier League start. He played 13 times for Blackburn Rovers during a loan spell last season.

Escaped lynx will be 'very scared and anxious'

Press Association

A lynx which escaped from Dartmoor Zoo will be "very scared and very anxious" zoo operations manager George Hyde has said.

"He'll be much more likely to stay away from people and to stay hidden." 

Mr Hyde, speaking in a video posted online by the Plymouth Herald, added that the lynx was last fed "before he began his journey" on Wednesday. The animal arrived at the zoo yesterday and keepers found he had escaped this morning.

He said the zoo was prepared for such situations and reassured the public that the risk from the animal was "very, very low". "It's about the size of a small Labrador so bigger than a domestic cat".

Polish family's house hit in 'racial arson attack'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A house in Plymouth which is home to a Polish family has been damaged in a suspected arson attack which police believe was racially motivated.

Officers said the fire was "started deliberately" in a shed situated close to the house in Blandford Road, Efford, overnight on Wednesday 6 July and Thursday 7 July. It spread to the house, causing "substantial damage".

Soon after the fire was started, a hate-filled letter had been sent to them, containing further threats. Officers said forensic examinations of the scene and the letter were under way, and the family was being supported by police and partner agencies.

Tortoise rescue makes national headlines

Night vision equipment to be used to find missing lynx

Scott Bingham, BBC Spotlight

Staff believe their chance of finding an escaped lynx will improve after dark and plan to use night vision equipment to try and find the animal.

The zoo took delivery of the cat last night, but discovered this morning it had dug its way out of the enclosure.

Escaped lynx 'chewed through a board' in a house that has 'held lynx for eight years'

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

Dartmoor Zoo says the newly arrived lynx that escaped from its enclosure chewed through a board in the wall of his house.

A spokesman said: "The house in which he was released has successfully held lynx for eight years, however he managed to escape by chewing through a board in the wall of the house. 

"This was discovered at 10:00 this morning when keepers came to release him. A search party immediately set out and quickly established that it was extremely unlikely for the lynx to still be on site and the local police and BBC Radio Devon were informed.

"Our main concerns now are for the safety of the public and for the welfare of Flaviu."

Argyle 'in talks for midfielder Payne'

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Plymouth Argyle are in talks to sign Peterborough midfielder Jack Payne, according to the director of football Barry Fry.

Jack Payne
Rex Features

The 24-year-old is unlikely to feature this season, according to Fry, having spent much of last term on loan at Argyle's League Two rivals Leyton Orient.

"He's not agreed personal terms, but it's a great opportunity for Jack to go and play for a big club and put his name out there again," Fry said. "Grant McCann's made it perfectly clear he will not be playing for us this year with the amount of quality we've got in midfield," he added to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

Lynx escapes from zoo: Helicopter, police and sniffer dogs used to try and find cat

Scott Bingham, BBC Spotlight

The lynx arrived at Dartmoor Zoo from a wildlife park in Kent last night. The animal has been missing since 19:30 on Wednesday.

When we arrived the zoo was open, but has since closed following advice from the licencing authority.

Staff believe the lynx will be hiding during the day. A helicopter and police team with dogs to sniff out the lynx are being used.

View more on twitter

Air and ground search for missing lynx continues

Claire Hawke

BBC Local Live

An air and ground search is continuing for a Carpathian lynx which has escaped its enclosure at Dartmoor Zoo.

The zoo's operations manager is George Hyde: 

Keepers discovered the animal was missing this morning - just a day after it arrived.

Officers have warned people not to approach it and children at a nearby school have have been warned to stay inside.

Man arrested after bomb squad called to Plymouth

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A 38-year-old man has been arrested after the bomb squad was call to a house in Plymouth and neighbouring properties were evacuated.

Police said they were called to the property on Craven Avenue, in the St Judes area, at about 17:35 on Wednesday after "concerns were raised following the discovery of suspicious items" in a basement. Adjoining properties were "evacuated as a precaution".

Bomb squad engineers confirmed a suspicious device "was not a live explosive" and the site was declared safe just before midnight. A man from the Exmouth area was arrested on suspicion of producing a controlled substance and is due to be questioned.

Lynx escapes from zoo: 'Imperative the public does not approach the animal'

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

The organisation that represents the zoo community said Dartmoor Zoo's "first priority is to locate and contain" the lynx after it escaped from its enclosure earlier today.

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) told BBC News: "Staff have established protocols which will assist them in doing this. 

"Lynx are secretive animals and will try to avoid human contact. However it is imperative that the public do not approach the animal if spotted and allow trained staff to deal with the situation. 

"We will be in contact with Dartmoor once the situation has been resolved."

High tide times for the region

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

If you're planning a trip to the coast or seaside, here are the next high water times around Devon and Cornwall.


Lynx escapes from zoo: 'Slim chance he will come into contact with people'

Press Association

George Hyde, from Dartmoor Zoo, told reporters: "We're quite fortunate because we're in a very rural location so in that respect the likelihood of the lynx coming into contact with people is very slim. 

"If he did, he would look to get away from those people rather than attack. 

He is a wild animal, he's captive bred, which means that he's never hunted and he's never killed for food." The zoo has been closed to members of the public after the Carpathian Lynx escaped.  Police and staff are searching for the feline.

Missing lynx 'done a bit of a Houdini'

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Danny Bamping, from the the British Big Cats Society, said the missing lynx had "done a bit of a Houdini" and now there's a "cat flap going on".

Mr Bamping said the animal "is not an immediate threat to the public".

"We're not dealing with a big cat like a lion, tiger, jaguar or leopard. The cat has been bred in captivity and will be far more scared of us than we should be of it."

Mr Bamping said this afternoon there would be drones flying over the area to help the search effort.

Pavey waits for Olympic team news

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Exeter's Jo Pavey is waiting to see if she will be selected for Team GB at the Rio Olympics after achieving a qualifying time at the European Championships.

Jo Pavey
Getty Images

The 42-year-old Briton finished in fifth spot in Amsterdam with a season's best 31 minutes 34 seconds. She needed to finish in 32 minutes 15 seconds to potentially qualify for Rio. She has run at every Olympics since 2000, but has been struggling with a chest infection.

She said: "I've been really up against it fitness-wise and each week I've been getting a little bit fitter. It was only three or four weeks ago that I could run half a race at that pace.

"I have to wait and see what the selectors say - so many British girls have ran well this season. I really can't say what will happen. I'm pleased with my progress, I've given it everything that I could."

Zoo 'facing challenge' after Lynx escapes

BBC Spotlight

Dartmoor Zoo has been closed to members of the public after a Carpathian Lynx escaped. 

Dartmoor Zoo, George Hyde

George Hyde, Operations Manager, said: "We have a very good relationship with South Hams District Council, they are very understanding of our concerns here and the challenges that we face and we seek to be as co-operative as we possibly can." 

Lynx escapes from wildlife park: Zoo 'is responding appropriately'

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

Dartmoor Zoo "is responding appropriately" after a lynx escaped from the wildlife park, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) has said. 

It said: "We are aware of reports that a lynx has escaped from Dartmoor Zoo and is presumed to have made its way outside of the zoo's perimeter. 

"Our understanding is that the zoo is responding appropriately, having notified the police and working with them to resolve the situation."

BIAZA is the professional organization representing the zoo and aquarium community.

Lynx escapes from Dartmoor Zoo: Licencing authority to investigate

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

A spokesman from South Hams District Council said: "The police are currently leading the search for the missing animal.

"South Hams District Council as the licencing authority will be investigating the incident."

Devon and Cornwall Police said: "The animal - a two-year-old male - should not be approached as it could become dangerous if alarmed or cornered."

Dartmoor Zoo

Missing zoo lynx: Golfers nearby 'have clubs as some form of defence'

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Staff at Welbeck Manor, a hotel and nine-hole golf course located in Sparkwell, have been warned about the Lynx missing from Dartmoor Zoo.  

Manager John Nolan said: "The zoo phoned us this morning to let us know the lynx had gone missing.

"We've had helicopters flying around all morning and been told not to approach it if we see it.

"We've warned the golfers, but luckily they have got golf clubs on them as some form of defence.

"There are actually some golf clubs called Lynx Predator so they might come in handy."


Lynx escapes from zoo sparking major search

Scott Bingham, BBC Spotlight

I'm at Dartmoor Zoo and the wildlife park is currently open, but staff are in the process of getting people to leave.

South Hams District Council - the local authority - suggests zoo bosses should shut the wildlife park.

Dartmoor Zoo

A helicopter was involved in the search earlier, but the zoo has requested it returns after dark as keepers are more hopeful of finding the lynx at night. 

Devon and Cornwall Police

Staff from Plymouth universities join strike

BBC Radio Devon

Staff at Plymouth University and the University of St Mark and St John are on strike today as part of a wave of nationwide action in a row over pay and conditions. 

The dispute between institutions and members of the University and College Union has arisen following a pay offer of 1.1%.  

The union said universities "can afford to pay more and the offer did little to address the real-terms pay cut of 14.5% that members have suffered since 2009". The Universities and Colleges Employers Association previously said it was a "very good pay offer".

Missing Lynx: Profile of a predator

The lynx has been extinct in Britain for 1,300 years, but was once common throughout Europe.

The Carpathian Lynx, also known as the Eurasian Lynx, live in forested areas and are native to Europe, Russia and parts of Asia.

It is the third largest predator in Europe after the brown bear and grey wolf and the largest of the four lynx species.

Eurasian Lynx

The average adult measures between 34-42in long (85-105cm) and has an 8in (20cm) tail and yellow/brown spotted coat.

It is an extremely efficient hunter using stealth and pounce techniques to bring down animals up to four times its size with a fatal bite to the neck or snout - sometimes after leaping from trees onto the backs of unsuspecting prey.

However, they mainly prey on hares, rabbits, rodents and grouse.

Escapes from Dartmoor Zoo

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

2006 Jaguar escapes from pen and into a tigers' enclosure before it was sedated by keepers 

2007: Wolf clambered over the top of its enclosure before being recaptured

2016: Lynx digs its way out of its enclosure hours after arriving at the zoo