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Summary

  1. Axe-wielding robbers attack Devon post office
  2. Girl, 4, taken to hospital after being hit by car
  3. Gove opens multimillion-pound flood scheme
  4. 'White vans' caught travelling 'over 100mph'
  5. Poorly seals serenaded by flautist
  6. Nurse struck off for twerking comments
  7. Small fire at National Trust's Killerton House
  8. Day centre for adults with disabilities in Plymouth to close
  9. Devon council defends record on helping the homeless after claims it's not doing enough
  10. Torpoint council to discuss nuclear siren set off by accident
  11. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Hayley Westcott

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Devon and Cornwall have finished for the day, but we'll be back at 07:00 on Friday 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.

Torbay nurse touched patient's bottom

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

A nurse has been struck off for "sexually motivated conduct" towards a patient at Torbay hospital.

Rodwell Ndoro was working at the hospital in March 2016, when he kissed the 29-year-old on the lips, as well as administering a suppository without her consent and inappropriately touching her lower back and bottom.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) also found he had failed to declare a serious health condition to his employers for six years, and continued to work after being suspended.

Torbay Hospital
BBC

The victim told the NMC in her witness statement, that at one occasion she was "wiggling (her) bottom" as she was in a lot of pain. Mr Ndoro said: "If you could twerk, I'd take you to Zimbabwe with me."

In response she said: "I can't twerk, I'm not a very good dancer."

The NMC found the comments to be inappropriate and they crossed professional boundaries.

A total of 17 charges were proved and Mr Ndoro has 28 days to appeal.

CCTV footage of axe attack on post office

Sarah Gosling

BBC News Online

CCTV footage has emerged of the moment two men wielding axes robbed a Devon post office.

Wearing balaclavas and boiler suits, the men entered the store in Whitchurch, Tavistock at about 18:00 on Wednesday, demanding money from the till.

The owner of the post-office Martin Summers was punched in the face by one of the suspects, but was not injured.

Two men in balaclavas and boiler suits held up the shop with axes.

Nurse struck off for twerking comments

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

A nurse has been struck off for "sexually motivated conduct" towards a patient, including telling her "if you could twerk, I'd take you to Zimbabwe".

Rodwell Ndoro was working for the Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust at the time.

Torbay Hospital
Google

He also administered a suppository without the 29-year-old's consent, and kissed her on the lips on a ward at Torbay Hospital in March 2016.

A professional misconduct panel found "serious breaches of trust" and that he "took advantage of her vulnerability".

Howeson trial: Jury sent home for a fourth night

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

The jury in the trial of Plymouth businessman and former naval officer, Charles Howeson, who is accused of sexual offences, has been sent home for a fourth night.

Earlier the judge at Bristol Crown Court said he would accept majority verdicts on the charges the 68-year-old faces.

Mr Howeson has denied 11 counts of indecent assault and one other serious sexual offence against nine different men.

The jury of six men and six women has been deliberating for almost 20 hours.

The deliberations will continue in the morning.

Charles Howeson
BBC

Judge Mark Horton said the jury can either convict or acquit on any charges on which at least ten of them are agreed.

Poorly seals serenaded by flautist

Poorly seals have been serenaded by a classical flautist to help them relax.

The casualties at The Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, Cornwall, have been given a festive treat in the form of professional musician Claire Rowe.

Seals serenaded by classical flautist in Cornwall

Axe-wielding robbers caught on CCTV

Sarah Gosling

BBC News Online

Axe-wielding robbers
BBC

CCTV footage has emerged of the moment two men wielding axes robbed a Devon post office.

Wearing balaclavas and boiler suits, the men entered the store in Whitchurch, Tavistock at about 18:00 on Wednesday, demanding money from the till.

Unable to gain access to the tills, they instead made off with a bag containing damaged and foreign notes, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

A male member of staff was assaulted by one of the suspects but was not injured.

One axe has since been found near the scene and seized by police.

Axe-wielding robbers attack post office
BBC

Police said the suspects were wearing distinctive blue boiler suits, yellow gloves and black masks.

One man is described as being tall and of slim build and the second as tall and of stockier build. Witnesses said both men spoke with Liverpudlian accents.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact police via 101.

Fire caused by laundry over light fitting

Sarah Gosling

BBC News Online

Fire crews were sent to a Devon house after a pile of laundry which had fallen onto a light fitting caused a small fire.

The fire in Hawkchurch near Axminster was confirmed to be out by the time crews from Devon and Somerset Fire Service arrived at about 13:20.

The fire service recommended caution and gave safety advice to ensure that a similar situation would not happen again.

Cornwall travel: A393 blocked after crash

BBC Radio Cornwall

In Ponsanooth the A393 is blocked in both directions after a crash between two vehicles between Speech Lane and the Treluswell Roundabout.

Devon travel: A379 lane blocked by broken-down vehicle

BBC Radio Devon

Near Exeter on the A379 between the Marsh Barton Roundabout and the A38, one lane is blocked by a broken-down vehicle.

Police appeal after 'arson attack' at Cornish car port

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

Police are appealing for witnesses after a car port was set on fire.

It happened at The Green in St Austell, in a block of car ports, between 20:45 on Tuesday and 10:15 on Wednesday.

Plastic was set alight and a wall has been damaged, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact police via 101.

Charles Howeson trial: Jury can return majority verdicts

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

The jury in the trial of a prominent Plymouth businessman and former naval officer, who's accused of sexual offences, has been told it can return majority verdicts on the charges he faces.

Sixty-eight-year-old Charles Howeson from Stonehouse in Plymouth has denied 11 counts of indecent assault and one other serious sexual offence against nine different men.

The jury of six men and six women has been deliberating for almost 18 hours.

On Thursday, the judge Mark Horton told them they should try to reach verdicts on which they are all agreed, but they can either convict or acquit on any charges on which at least 10 of them are agreed.

Mr Howeson is alleged to have indecently assaulted one man whilst second in command of HMS Cleopatra in 1985.

Six of the alleged indecent assaults date from the early 1990s when Mr Howeson was executive director of the Plymouth Area Groundwork Trust Charity.

Mr Howeson has pleaded not guilty to all 12 charges.

View more on twitter
Charles Howeson
BBC

Girl, 4, taken to hospital after being hit by car

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A four-year-old girl has been taken to hospital after being hit by a car in Plymouth, police have said.

It happened on Efford Road at about 11:30.

The girl was taken to the city's Derriford Hospital as a precaution, Devon and Cornwall Police added.

Then road remains blocked between Old Laira Road and Higher Efford Road.

Man jailed for drug offences

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A man has been jailed for a number of drug offences in Devon.

Andrew Hodges, 46, of Brockhurst Park in Paignton was arrested in August 2016 as part of an ongoing police investigation into the supply of drugs in Devon.

Hodges pleaded guilty to four counts of possession of class A and B drugs and also pleaded guilty to five counts of possession with intent to supply class A drugs between August 2016 and January 2017 at Exeter Crown Court.

He pleaded not guilty to three other similar offences.

Hodges was sentenced to eight years and five months.

Andrew Hodges
Devon and Cornwall Police

Weather update: Remaining mild with sunny spells

BBC Weather

The weather is looking a little brighter this afternoon with one or two sunny spells likely.

It will also remain mild with light winds.

Maximum temperature: 12C (54F).

weather map
BBC

Bus delays due to heavy traffic

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

Heavy traffic on Devon's roads is causing delays to some bus services.

Stagecoach is urging bus users to allow plenty of time for journeys.

The areas affected are Exeter, Barnstaple, Plymouth and Torquay.

View more on twitter

Barn blaze 'under control' in Ide

Sarah Gosling

BBC News Online

barn fire in Ide
BBC

A barn blaze in a Devon village is now under control, a fire service has said.

Four fire engines from Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service were sent to the blaze in Ide, in which a barn containing 100 bales of hay and several tonnes of woodchipping was on fire.

The service said: "Officers are now focussing on dampening down, which due to the amount of hay present and the possibility of it reigniting, may take some time."

Three engines remain at the scene.

Fire officers on site in Ide
BBC

People urged to 'look after each other' this winter

Sarah Gosling

BBC News Online

People are being asked to look after each other - particularly the elderly and vulnerable - this winter.

Torbay Council is supporting the Stay Well This Winter campaign, and recommends:

  • Houses are kept to at least 18C (65F) where possible
  • Neighbours ensure that the vulnerable are stocked with their prescriptions
  • All eligible persons receive a free flu vaccination

Councillor Jackie Stockman, lead for health and eellbeing, said: “Older neighbours, relatives, friends and elderly members of the community are more vulnerable in the winter months and may need a bit of extra help this winter.

“It is important to keep in touch and check if they are feeling under the weather, help them stock up on food supplies and make sure they have their necessary medications before the Christmas holiday or a spell of bad weather begins.”

Tractor with trailer of hay overturns in road

Sarah Gosling

BBC News Online

A tractor with an overturned trailer of hay has caused disruption in Exeter.

Drivers are being advised to avoid Marsh Barton until the load is cleared.

No-one has been injured.

View more on twitter

Over 5,000 Devon badgers killed as cull extended

Sarah Gosling

BBC News Online

Badger
BBC

An independent government report has found almost 20,000 badgers have been culled in the UK this year, 5,555 in Devon.

The cull was extended into 11 new areas in Devon, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset and Cheshire in September as part of the government's plan to eradicate Bovine TB.

The Devon Badger Group says it is "deeply saddened" by the cull, which "diverts funds, expertise and focus from the real problem which is cattle-to-cattle transmission".

Quoting figures from the cull's first year, it said "between 6.4 and 18% of badgers could have taken longer than five minutes to die.

"The Devon Badger Group sympathises with farmers and realises that this is a devastating disease but they are being mislead into thinking that the badger culls are going to help".

At the time, Farming Minister George Eustice said: "Bovine TB not only has a devastating impact on our beef and dairy farms, but causes harm and distress to infected cattle".

Read takes part-time Notts coaching role

Chris Read holds the One-Day Cup
Getty Images

Former Notts captain and Devon-born Chris Read, who retired from cricket in September, will return to the club as a part-time coach.

Chris Read holds the One-Day Cup

Read takes part-time Notts coaching role

Former Notts captain Chris Read, who retired from cricket in September, will return to the club as a part-time coach.

Read more

Thousands of maternity mistakes in Cornwall and Devon

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

Maternity staff at hospitals in Cornwall and Devon recorded more than 5,000 mistakes between April 2015 and March 2017, it's been revealed.

Across the four main NHS trusts there were seven deaths linked to maternity care, and 11 mothers or babies were severely harmed.

  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust - 1,580 incidents (3 deaths)
  • Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust - 1,548 (2 deaths)
  • Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust - 616 (2 deaths)
  • Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust - 1,684 (0 deaths)
Wheal Fortune maternity ward at Royal Cornwall Hospital
BBC

Nationally, more than 276,000 incidents were logged by worried hospital staff- the equivalent of one mistake for every five births.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the BBC maternity safety was his "top priority".

The incidents have been flagged up under a voluntary reporting scheme run by the regulator NHS Improvement.

Leaning fountain of Torquay is removed for 'facelift'

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A fountain on Torquay seafront has been removed while it gets a facelift.

The Princess Gardens Grade II Listed fountain, which is only one of three of its kind in the UK, has developed a tilt.

Work is required to construct a new reinforced concrete base of granite paving which will match the promenade, Torbay Council has said.

fountain site
Don Proctor

Torbay's elected mayor, Gordon Oliver said he is pleased Princess Gardens is "receiving such investment".

"This Grade II Listed fountain in Princess Gardens is such a well-liked and prominent feature. It is great to see that it will be restored to its former glory and will continue to enhance the listed gardens."

Work is due to be completed in April.

Fountain being removed
Torbay's Natural Environment Services

Firefighters battle barn blaze in Ide

Sarah Gosling

BBC News Online

A fire has taken hold of a Devon barn containing over 100 bales of hay.

Four fire engines have been deployed to the 20m x 30m barn in Ide which is "well alight", a fire service spokesperson said.

The barn is thought to contain a large amount of hay and several tonnes of woodchip, which may cause the blaze to escalate.

Axe-wielding robbers attack Devon post office

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

Two men armed with axes and wearing balaclavas robbed a post office in West Devon, police said.

The men entered the store in Whitchurch, Tavistock at about 18:00 on Wednesday, demanding money from the till.

They were unable to gain access to the tills so made off with a bag containing damaged and foreign notes, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

A male member of staff was assaulted by one of the suspects but was not injured.

Police are investigating the robbery and searching for the suspects who were wearing blue boiler suits, yellow gloves and black masks.

They both had Liverpudlian accents with one man being described as tall and of slim build and the second as tall and of stockier build.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact police via 101.

Rare 'Santa's beard' fungus spotted in Devon

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A rare fungus, spotted in North Devon, has been nicknamed "Santa's beard" by a local conservation charity.

The fungus, which is more usually known by its scientific name hericium erinaceus and other names including hedgehog fungus and lion's mane fungus, has been spotted near Thornbury in North Devon.

The fungus is rarely seen in the UK and it's thought to be only the second sighting of it in Devon, and only the 215th time it has been recorded in the UK since 1923, Devon Wildlife Trust said.

The white, football-sized fungus was spotted growing from the trunk of a tree by Meg Galley-Taylor as she drove along a road close to her North Devon home.

"It is large, white and very conspicuous. I had no idea what it was but I knew I had never seen anything like it before."

fungus
MEG GALLEY-TAYLOR

Killerton House 'open as usual' after fire in kitchen

Twitter

Killerton House is "open as usual" after a hot water machine caught fire in the kitchen.

Fire engines were called to the historic building at about 09:00 but the small fire had already been extinguished, the fire service said.

Killerton House, which is owned by the National Trust, tweeted that "although Father Christmas had a little accident in the kitchen", it is still open and ready for visitors.

View more on twitter

Devon travel: Overturned vehicle in Exeter

BBC Radio Devon

In Exeter on Hennock Road at the junction with Alphin Brook Road, there are reports of an overturned vehicle.

'White vans' caught travelling 'over 100mph'

Sarah Gosling

BBC News Online

Police have caught a number of van drivers speeding in Devon and Cornwall, with some vehicles travelling over 100mph (160kph).

On 19 December a speeding surveillance operation run by Devon & Cornwall Police recorded 478 offences over a 13-hour period.

Of these, 129 were committed by commercial vehicles, with three "white vans" captured going "in excess of 100mph" on the A38 and A30 dual carriageways.

Marcus Laine, from the force, said over the next two weeks, officers will be looking at whether Christmas "delivery schedule pressures" from certain employers might be a factor.

Offenders will receive notices of prosecution within 14 days.

View more on twitter

Killerton House fire 'nothing to worry about'

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A small fire that broke out at Killerton House in Broadclyst, Exeter is being described as "very, very minor" and "nothing to worry about".

Fire engines were called to the historic building at about 09:00 after a hot water machine caught fire.

Staff extinguished the fire before crews arrived, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said.

Claire Bolitho from the National Trust, which owns the building and gardens, said the only casualty was the water heater itself.

"It's slightly damaged and looking a little sorry for itself. Nobody was injured and it wasn't a major problem."

Tribute to officer 'shot in chest' and killed 44 years ago

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A police officer who was shot in the chest and killed whilst on duty is being remembered by the force 44 years on.

PC Dennis Arthur Smith was murdered on 21 December 1973. He was shot by Martin Fenton three times whilst PC Smith was on patrol in Torquay, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

PC Smith pulled Fenton's car over after he was spotted driving erratically through the town centre.

When his car keys were taken from him, Fenton shot PC Smith once in the chest and then a further two times at point blank range as he lay dying on the ground.

About 40 minutes after the killing, Fenton stole the police vehicle and killed three more people at a local casino.

After an 11-mile chase, Fenton was arrested and later sentenced to life in prison.

Police historian, Mark Rothwell said PC Smith would never be forgotten by Devon and Cornwall Police and the incident "is still close to the hearts of many".

"It is tragic that PC Smith and three casino workers were killed. PC Smith was highly thought of by his colleagues and there are still many people around, mostly retired police officers, who still speak fondly of him. It’s important he is remembered."

PC Dennis Smith QPM
Torquay Police

Cornwall travel: A30 lane closed at Bodmin after accident

BBC Radio Cornwall

At Bodmin on the A30 westbound at Launceston Road one lane is closed due to an accident.

Cornish children get Christmas treat from Royal Navy

Twitter

Schoolchildren in Cornwall have received a Christmas treat from the Royal Navy.

The Merlin training squadron 824 NAS, based at RNAS Culdrose, gave Father Christmas a lift in a helicopter to collect sacks of Christmas letters from schools in the county.

Cornwall travel: A30 partially blocked due to accident

BBC Radio Cornwall

At Five Lanes, there are reports that the A30 heading westbound is partially blocked due to an accident.

Fire at National Trust's historic building

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

Fire crews have been sent to a historic building in Devon after a fire broke out.

Reports of fire alarms sounding at Killerton House in Broadclyst, Exeter, reached the control room at about 09:00.

There was a small fire in a hot water machine, but staff managed to extinguish it before three engines arrived, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said.

Crews confirmed the fire was accidental.

Killerton House was built in the 18th Century. The building and gardens are owned by the National Trust.