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  1. 'Skilled manipulator' paedophile, 54, jailed for 16 years
  2. Plymouth University student killed in stairwell fall
  3. Redruth Cricket Club raided twice in two days and alcohol stolen
  4. A report looking look into reopening South Crofty tin mine says it is "viable"
  5. Bodmin Moor's night skies could soon bring star-gazing tourists to Cornwall
  6. Updates for Monday 20 February 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage

That's all from BBC Local Live in Devon and Cornwall for today, but we'll be back at 08:00 to bring you all Tuesday's news, sport, travel and weather.

Don't miss Spotlight with Justin, Victoria and David tonight on BBC One at 18:30 and the late evening news bulletin at 22:30.

Basking sharks' winter habits revealed

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Cuting-edge satellite tracking has been used to uncover the habits of basking sharks in the winter.

It was previously thought the plankton-eating fish simply hibernated in the waters off the UK and Ireland.

Basking shark

The research by the Environment and Sustainability Institute, in partnership with the University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus, has allowed scientists to piece together vital parts of their life cycle.  

“Knowing where these animals are all year round allows us to understand the threats they face,” lead author Philip Doherty said.  

Devon and Cornwall's weather for Tuesday: Cloudy with patchy rain

David Braine

Weather Forecaster

Staying cloudy overnight, with hill fog likely for moorland and other high ground. 

Outbreaks of rain and drizzle are expected after midnight, but it will be mild, with a minimum temperature of 9C (48F).

Weather map for Tuesday

Tomorrow will be cloudy with patchy outbreaks of light rain or drizzle at first. It'll then be dry for a while, but further more widespread outbreaks of rain are expected in the afternoon. Maximum temperature: 13C (55F).

News headlines for Devon and Cornwall: Student dies in stairwell fall

Lynne French

BBC News Online

  • A 19-year-old student dies in a stairwell fall in Plymouth
  • The reintroduction of mining at South Crofty in Cornwall is viable, a report says
  • A man who sexually abused boys and girls in north Devon in the 1970s and 1980s is jailed
  • Local authorities warn services face cuts despite council tax increases to help pay for elderly social care
  • Cornwall promotes its ambitions to be part of the UK space age
  • A "green" hotel with 109 bedrooms is to be built at Cornwall's Eden Project
  • A village bus shelter gets a mystery makeover

Travel updates: advance warning of evening and overnight road closures

BBC Travel

  • In Devon, Plympton's Ridgeway will be closed at Sandy Road due to roadworks from 19:00 to midnight. Diversions in place will also affect Wolverwood Lane
  • At Smithaleigh, on the A38 Plymouth-bound near New Park Road, one lane will be closed due drainage works between 20:00 and 06:00  
  • On the A30 eastbound at the Woodleigh Junction, one lane will be closed due to roadworks between 20:00 and 06:00
  • In Cornwall, the A39 will be closed between Winnards Perch and the A389 due to resurfacing work between 19:00 and 07:00. Diversions will be in place
  • Resurfacing work in Cornwall means the A388 will be closed between Lezant and Treburley between 19:00 and 07:00
  • Between St Erth roundabout and Loggans Moor roundabout in Cornwall, the A30 will be closed in both directions from 20:00 until 06:00 for drainage works. Diversions will be in place
  • Station Approach in St Erth will be closed at the A30 due to bridge maintenance between 22:00 and 06:00. Diversions will be in place

Is it the end of the line for railway club's exhibitions?

BBC News England

Fingerprint 'crumb of comfort' after cricket club burglary

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A Cornish cricket club which suffered two break-ins in two days and had £300-worth of alcohol stolen says "some fingerprints" have been retrieved by investigators looking into the raids.

Redruth Cricket Club. Pic: Google

Redruth Cricket Club said on Facebook its clubhouse was attacked by vandals last Thursday, and burglars "completely gutted the club of all of its alcohol" during a break-in on Friday.

It said: "We can take a slight crumb of comfort in knowing that after the second break-in, the authorities managed to retrieve some fingerprints which they hope to use to bring in those who were responsible for these mindless attacks."   

Police didn't reveal how far their investigation had got but did say the club's doors and windows were damaged during the raids to get access to the stolen goods.

Eco-friendly Eden hotel plans passed

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Revised plans for an energy-efficient hotel at Cornwall's Eden Project have been approved.

The £8.5m hotel, with 109 bedrooms and classrooms, designed by architects TateHarmer, is expected to open in April next year.

Artist's impression of Eden Project hotel
Eden Project

A previous application was withdrawn following public comments about the visual impact.

Work on the hotel, which will create up to 40 new jobs, will begin later this year, with existing features such as trees and stone walls incorporated into the design.

New features, including a meadow and orchard, will be planted around the hotel.

Analyis: Crofty mining restart attempts have cost £22m. Why keeping trying?

Neil Gallacher, Business & Industry Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

The boss of a Vancouver-based company hoping to restart mining in Cornwall is in the county for meetings in the latest attempt to get production back to South Crofty.

All the various attempts to restart Crofty since 1998 have cost a total of £22m. So why are they still at it?

South Crofty

Tin is now worth more than six times what it was when the mine shut in 1998. Back then, it was $3,000 a tonne. Today it's worth $20,000. 

In 19 years of attempts to restart South Crofty, the publication of a preliminary economic assessment by Strongbow is a milestone, and the farthest anyone has yet got. So, quite impressive.

Travel update for Devon and Cornwall

BBC Travel

  • Expect delays in Lelant, Cornwall, on Tyringham Road with temporary traffic lights for roadworks
  • There is slow traffic near Saltash at the Carkeel Roundabout on the A38 and A388 
  • Four-way temporary traffic lights for gas main work at the junction of Honicknowle Lane and Ham Drive in Plymouth, with delays expected
  • Skybus flights to the Isles of Scilly have been cancelled for the rest of the day due to low cloud and visibility

Valuable paintings stolen in burglary

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Two paintings, described by police as valuable - including one by acclaimed Plymouth artist Robert Lenkiewicz - have been stolen for a property in Plymouth.

The burglary in the High St Budeaux area of the city happened overnight between Friday 17 February and Saturday 18 February.

Images of stolen artwork
Devon and Cornwall Police

The Lenkiewicz painting is titled "Anna" and the second is Sheree Valentines Daines' "After Practice".

Anyone who may have seen or been offered these paintings for sale has been asked to contact the police.

Hitler phone sale 'to benefit Devon charities'

BBC Radio Devon

Some money raised by the auction of Adolf Hitler's personal phone, which had been in Devon, is to benefit local charities, it is understood.

The blood red phone has been in the Rayner family - who own the Ashcome Estate near Dawlish - since it was brought back from Berlin by a British Army officer as a trophy of war. 

Hitler phone. Pic: EPA

Soviet soldiers gave it to British officer Sir Ralph Rayner as a souvenir shortly after Germany surrendered. The phone was put up for auction by Sir Ralph's son, Ranulf, who lives in Devon.

It has been sold for $243,000 (£195,744) at a US auction. The identity of the buyer, who bid by phone, has not been revealed. A percentage of the proceeds is being donated to two unnamed Devon charities.

Why could there be a 4.99% council tax rise? Analysis


All local authorities in England can raise council tax by up to 1.99% in April. Any higher, and they would need to hold a referendum to get residents to agree with the hike before they could put it in place.

But the 151 social care authorities can also increase bills by an extra 3%. This is the social care precept, introduced by George Osborne in 2015 to allow local authorities to raise extra money to specifically pay for social care.

The Local Government Association (LGA) says 147 of these have already agreed or are planning to raise the extra money. And three-quarters are set to introduce the maximum hike.

Added together, this means most people in England will be looking at a 4.99% rise in council tax in the coming year.

Car sharing solution for city congestion

BBC Spotlight

Car sharing could be one of the possible ways of dealing with growing congestion in Exeter.

According to Exeter City Futures, at least 14,000 car journeys could be added to the city's roads within the next decade.

Traffic congestion

"For a city like Exeter, the future has got to be about much more shared transport," Glenn Woodcock, the company's founder and director, says.

"Not just a little bit more - but profoundly larger amounts." 

Cornwall promotes itself for major stake in UK space age

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Cornwall’s commercial spaceflight ambitions will be highlighted at a major UK Space Agency conference in London.

A delegation led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership will outline why the county is ideally placed to offer a "complete launch solution" to commercial space operators to put small satellites into orbit, and offer spaceplane flights for science and tourism.

Goonhilly Earth Station

Newquay Airport and Goonhilly Earth Station's capabilities - including one of the UK’s longest runways, uncongested airspace, satellite operation and space vehicle tracking - will be promoted in the hope of sharing in a £10m government fund.  

Goonhill's chief executive, Ian Jones, said: "This is Cornwall’s and the UK’s opportunity to participate in a £25bn industry.”

Newquay Airport

Basking sharks enjoy winter 'staycations'

Some basking sharks choose a winter "staycation" around the UK and Ireland, scientists from the University of Exeter have discovered, while others swim far outside UK waters.

The research into the winter habits of the species was carried out by the Environment and Sustainability Institute, in partnership with the University of Exeter's Cornwall campus.

Basking shark

Dr Matthew Witt, one of the report's lead authors, said dangers to the north-Atlantic population of the species - which is classed as endangered - may be posed by commercial fishing, boat strikes, marine litter and civil engineering. 

Information gathered by cutting-edge satellite tracking will be used to protect the sharks who are the world's second-largest fish species.

Newcastle sign brothers, including Redruth's Matavesi

BBC Sport

Fiji international Josh Matavesi and his younger brother, Joel, will join Newcastle Falcons in the summer.

Centre Josh, 26, will arrive from Ospreys while his 21-year-old fly-half sibling, Joel, joins from Redruth.

Josh was in the Ospreys side that beat Newcastle in the European Challenge Cup last month and will stay with the Welsh side until the end of the season.

Director of rugby Dean Richards said he was a "proven and versatile performer who fits out style of play."

Oxygen treatment for Torquay fire baby

BBC Radio Devon

A 13-month-old baby girl has been treated for the effects of breathing in smoke after a fire in Torquay.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said the firefighters were called to Peregrine Close just before 15:00.

A small fire in the dining room of the two-storey property was extinguished and the baby was given oxygen therapy at the scene.

'Skilled manipulator' paedophile jailed for 16 years

Lynne French

BBC News Online

A man who sexually abused boys and girls in the 1970s and 1980s in north Devon has been jailed for 16 years, police say.

Fifty-four-year-old Owen Hill - of Spencer Drive, Tiverton, and formerly of Barnstaple - was found guilty at Exeter Crown Court on 13 counts of sexual assault, including the rape of a child.

Owen Hill
Devon and Cornwall Police

Det Con Dave Browne, from Devon and Cornwall Police, who led the investigation, described Hill as a "skilled manipulator" who exploited and coerced children by threatening them with violence.

"The victims of these offences will live with these memories for the rest of their lives, and today's sentence quite rightly reflects the trauma and suffering that they have endured," he said. 

More details emerge about death of Newton Abbot prisoner Noel Boylan

Exeter Express & Echo

Further details have emerged about a prisoner who died while serving time in a Devon prison.

Next 'six to 12 months important in South Crofty reopening bid'

Neil Gallacher, Business & Industry Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

The next year is "important" in plans to begin mining again in Cornwall, a company boss says.

A new study produced for the Canadian-based company Strongbow Exploration says reopening South Crofty mine in Pool could be economically viable.

South Crofty

Start-up costs of about £95m would have to be raised from stock market investors, but Richard Williams, Strongbow's president and CEO, has flown to Cornwall for a series of meetings to discuss the plans. 

"The next six to 12 months are really important so that we can access the finance to de-water the mine and keep our current momentum going," he said.

University student died in fall

A 19-year-old man who died when he fell down stairs was a student at Plymouth University, the BBC understands.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the man, from South Wales, died in the early hours of Sunday at a building on Cobourg Street.

It is still not clear where the fall took place.

Plymouth University

Eden hotel plans approved

Lynne French

BBC News Online

A "green" hotel with 109 bedrooms is to be built at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Plans for the £8.5m energy-efficient hotel have been approved and construction is due to begin later this year, creating up to 40 new jobs, those behind the project say.

Artist's impression of hotel
Eden Project

The "unconventional" design of the hotel, which will "blend into the countryside", features prominent timber poles, cladding the outside of its two blocks, the Eden Project said.

It is due to open in April next year.

Shop's new owners not taking on Post Office work

BBC Radio Cornwall

The expected closure of a rural Post Office in north Cornwall is causing consternation among villagers.

The new owners who are taking over the shop at St Kew services won't be taking on the post side of the business office, it is understood.

Some people in the community have said the Post Office is a lifeline.

News headlines for Devon and Cornwall: 19-year-old dies in stairwell fall

Lynne French

BBC News Online

  • A man from South Wales dies after falling several floors from a stairwell in Plymouth
  • Four people are treated for carbon monoxide poisonings in Cornwall
  • Tin mining could begin again at South Crofty mine in Cornwall
  • Students from Exeter University take part in an anti-fascism march
  • Council leaders warn of cuts to services to pay for elderly care
  • Cornwall's Eden Project gets the go-ahead to build a "green" hotel
  • A Devon village bus shelter is secretly decorated and furnished

Latest weather: Cloudy, breezy and mild

BBC Weather

This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with a brisk westerly breeze.

It'll be dry for many, but some occasional outbreaks of light rain and drizzle are possible and it'll also be very mild for the time of year with a maximum temperature of 14C (57F).

Weather map

Cloudy overnight, with hill fog likely and outbreaks of rain and drizzle expected after midnight, but staying mild with a minimum temperature of 9C (48F).

Cricket club has £300-worth of alcohol stolen in burglary

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Police in Cornwall investigating two break-ins at a cricket club over two days say about £300-worth of alcohol was stolen during the raids.

Redruth Cricket Club. Pic: Google

Redruth Cricket Club said on Facebook its clubhouse was damaged when attacked by vandals last Thursday, but that burglars "completely gutted the club of all of its alcohol" during a break-in on Friday. 

"Kegs, bottles, optics, etc, etc" were taken, the club said.

Police added that the club's doors and windows were damaged during the raids to get access to the stolen goods.

Carbon Monoxide: Safety advice

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

There were two incidents involving carbon monoxide in Cornwall overnight, with four people needing treatment. 

The fire service has lots of advice for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning.

How to prevent CO poisoning?

  • Make sure all appliances are installed and maintained by a professional
  • Keep chimney flues free from blockages - for more information on this, you can  visit chimney fire safety
  • Ensure your home has enough ventilation and airbricks are not blocked
  • Protect your family from the silent killer by fitting a CO alarm, approved to BS EN 50291 standards

What to do in an emergency?

  • Open the windows to ventilate
  • Evacuate everyone outside to fresh air
  • Go to your doctor or, in an emergency, call for an ambulance

Anti-fascism march at university after swastika found in hall of residence

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

View more on twitter

A march against fascism is being held at Exeter University, following the discovery of a carving of a swastika onto a door.

A Jewish group last week condemned the offensive graffiti, which was found in a hall of residence.

The university said at the time the graffiti may have been parodying a sketch in a TV comedy show. However, a spokesman added that any form of racist or discriminatory behaviour was unacceptable.

Latest travel in Cornwall

BBC Travel

  • On Wellington Road in Camborne, there are reports of an accident near Pengwarras Road
  • On the A388 between Callington and St Mellion, there are reports of an accident
  • Traffic problems in Truro have been further exacerbated by the A39 Morlaix Avenue being partially blocked at Fairmantle Street because of an accident. The dual carriageway westbound out of the city centre is already down to one lane because of manhole cover repairs

Waffle house staff 'scared' after attempted tips jar theft

The owners of a waffle house in Truro say two people attempted to steal their staff tips jar on Saturday.

In a post on Facebook, staff at the Indulge Waffle House in the city centre said they believed it to be two local homeless people.

Waffle House

The pair pretended to pass out before taking the jar, the business said. A man working in the shop chased after them and got it back, it added. 

The post said: "We have always supported the local homeless people, fed them and gave them drinks for free. Unfortunately ... two of them came in and tried to distract the staff by pretending to pass out and the next minute they were running out of the shop with our staffs tips pot.

"This really saddens us as we now feel we can no longer put our trust in them. It scares us for when there is only one member of staff working."    

Council tax 'to rise while services cut'


Council leaders are warning of deep cuts to services despite nearly every local authority in England planning to raise council tax in 2017.

Increases of up to 4.99% are expected across the country, but libraries, bin collections and other services will still face funding gaps.

Council tax bill

The Local Government Association says the cost of care for increasing numbers of elderly people is forcing up bills.

The government insists it is giving more money to councils.

All councils in England can raise council tax by 1.99% in April without having a local referendum. The 151 social care authorities can increase bills by an extra 3% as long as that money goes on social care.

Row of logs across 60mph road near Newquay

Cornwall Live

Police have issued a warning over "very disturbing" behaviour which saw one person attempt to obstruct the main road into St Columb Major by placing a row of wooden logs across the highway.

Concern grows for missing Crediton man

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Concern is growing for the welfare of a 59-year-old man who has gone missing from his home in the Crediton area.

James Moore is described as about 6ft 2in (1.9m) tall, slim to medium build, with blue eyes and short hair. 

James Moore
Devon and Cornwall Police

He was last seen wearing a dark blue sweatshirt, a red T-shirt with blue trousers and trainers.  

Devon and Cornwall Police has asked anyone who has seen James of has any information about his whereabouts to contact them.

Tributes paid to Exeter City Councillor Paul Bull

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Tributes have been paid to a senior councillor who has died following a battle with cancer.

Paul Bull was Exeter City Council’s lead for communities and culture and councillor for St Thomas ward.

The 60-year-old passed away on Sunday night.

Paul Bull
Exeter City Council

Exeter's Labour MP Ben Bradshaw described Mr Bull as a "wonderful man and a first rate councillor".

"We were out together in St Thomas just last month, going door to door, talking to residents... he fought his cancer with great courage and we will all miss him very much."

Travel update for Devon and Cornwall: Fog grounds Scillies flights

BBC Travel

  • Heavy traffic in Truro on the A390 from Newquay Road to the Trafalgar roundabout due to roadworks
  • Also in Truro, one lane of the A39 Morlaix Avenue is closed for emergency repairs to a collapsed manhole 
  • In Devon between Staverton and Dartington, Staverton Bridge is closed due to an accident 
  • At Newquay and Lands End Airports, all Skybus Flights to and from the Isles of Scilly are currently grounded by fog

BreakingMan killed in stairwell fall

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

A 19-year-old man has died after falling "a number of floors" down a communal stairway in Plymouth.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the man, who is from South Wales, suffered a fatal head injury in the fall in the early hours of Sunday at the building in Cobourg Street.

A spokesman said the death is not being treated as suspicious and next of kin have been informed.

Bus shelter's mystery "Banksy" makeover

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

A Devon village bus shelter is being secretly decorated and furnished by an unknown person, sparking intrigue in the community.

The Dartmoor village of Walkhampton was first transformed overnight last summer, when a comfortable chair and cushions were put in.

Since then there have been regular updates to the interior, but the identity of the reclusive renovator remains a mystery.

Bus shelter
Reverend Nick Shutt

Reverend Nick Shutt, rector of West Dartmoor Mission Community and village resident, said: "Walkhampton's own Banksy is on the loose. It's a great thing and has brought a real sense of cheer to the community."    

Motorcyclist 'seriously ill' after crash

A motorcyclist is "seriously ill" after a crash near Camelford at the weekend.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the 52-year-old male BMW rider was taken by air ambulance to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth after suffering head injuries in a collision with a car on the A30 near St Teath.

Officers have appealed for witnesses to the crash at about 15:15 on Saturday. 

The car, a Peugeot 207, was being driven by a woman in her 20s, who is understood to be uninjured.

Police said there were three serious accidents involving motorcyclists in Cornwall on Saturday alone. A motorcycle rider from Brixham in Devon died on Friday after a collision on the A38 near Ivybridge.

View more on twitter

Manhole repairs cause Truro traffic tailbacks

Andrew Segal

Local Live


A lane closure on the A39 through Truro, which has caused major tailbacks, is because of repairs to a manhole, South West Water says.

South West Water said one lane of the A39 - beside the city's Staples store on Morlaix Avenue in Truro - had been closed for "emergency repairs to a collapsed manhole". 

It added: "The repairs are complete and the road will now be resurfaced. The lane closure will be lifted by 16:00. We apologise for the inconvenience this essential work has caused."

One person tweeted saying it took them an hour to drive four miles coming from Probus. Other people reported that it took an hour to get half-a-mile down St Clement's Hill into the city centre.