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  1. 'Manipulative' parents jailed for abusing their children

    Christine Butler

    BBC Radio Cornwall

    "Manipulative and controlling" was the verdict in a case where a mother and father from Cornwall were jailed for systematic sexual abuse of their children.

    Judge Simon Carr at Truro Crown Court said one son’s life had been "physically and emotionally devastated" by his parents.

    The court heard of serial sexual abuse and a family torn apart at the hands of parents who got together in the year 2000 and set up home in Cornwall with their four children from previous relationships.

    The son was being groomed by his parents, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the children, and taken to nudist beaches.

    Prosecuting Heather Hope said they encouraged him to be naked in the matrimonial bed explaining that it was perfectly normal to touch his step-mother’s naked body.

    At the age of 11 his step mother had sex with him and the act of sexual intercourse became a part of the boy’s life.

    As he got older the son was introduced by the parents to cannabis and amphetamines which were described as freely available.

    The mother’s three other daughters were also targeted.

    The court was told one of them found it extremely difficult to describe the sexual abuse that happened to her from the age of nine. He came into her room every night on the pretext of tucking her up in bed.

    The father who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing was sentenced to 18 years. The mother tonight starts a 21-year jail sentence.

    Truro Crown Court
  2. Scheme looks to tackle ash dieback problem

    BBC Radio Devon

    A tree-planting scheme is under way in the Blackdown Hills to replace trees that will be lost through ash dieback.

    Devon County Council is supporting the landowner at a farm near Hemyock to plant a small copse of native, broadleaved trees and shrubs, along with a new length of species-rich hedge.

    The highly infectious fungal tree disease is expected to result in the loss of more than 90% of Devon's native ash trees.

    ash dieback
  3. Torbay council tax bills to go up 4%

    Ed Oldfield

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Council tax payers in Torbay will see bills go up by just over 4% in total for the next financial year starting in April.

    An average Band D property will face a demand for £1,801.84, including payments for police and fire after Torbay Council put up its share of the bill by 2.99%.

    The bill includes £212.28 for police and £86.52 for the fire service, with the council getting £1,503.04, meaning an overall increase of £71.15 from last year.

    Torquay Town Hall

    The council tax levels were set by Torbay Council at a budget meeting.

    The £111m spending plan was the last set by elected mayor Gordon Oliver, as the post will be abolished after local elections in May to be replaced by a leader and cabinet system.

    Councillors also voted to take £1m from reserves to cover this year’s overspending and balance the books after a freeze on non-urgent spending due to financial pressures.

    The authority is having to find £17m worth of savings and new income over the next three years as funding from central government continues to be cut.

  4. Litter picking boy leading the way in Cranbrook

    Emma Thomasson

    BBC Spotlight

    A six-year-old's litter picking club has become a popular event in one Devon town.

    Fin Smith decided to start the events in Cranbrook near Exeter because he got fed up with seeing rubbish on the way to school.

    More than 50 people turned up to his latest pick - and the town council have even arranged to help out by lending them litter pickers, and collecting the bags of waste afterwards.

    Video content

    Video caption: Boy launches litter picking club in Devon town
  5. Multiple gorse fires on the Lizard

    Johnny O'Shea

    BBC News Online

    Six fire crews are tackling a number of gorse fires on the Lizard peninsula.

    Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service says crews from Mullion, Tolvaddon, St Dennis, Falmouth, St Keverne and Helston are on the scene.

    They were initially called to reports of a single incident at Goonhilly Downs but have discovered a number of fires in the area.

    Firefighters have been using beaters to help extinguish the fires.

    View more on twitter
  6. Plymouth council tax rise of 2.99% proposed

    Jenny Kumah

    BBC South West politics reporter

    A council tax rise of 2.99% has been proposed at a Plymouth City Council budget meeting.

    If approved, the increase would mean an extra £43 a year on an average band D property.

    Council leader Tudor Evans, of the Labour-led authority, said that a further £17m of savings needed to be found even with the increase as the government had cut funding cut by £750m since 2010.

    Plymouth City Council budget report
  7. Cash and jewellery stolen in Honiton burglary

    Hayley Westcott

    BBC News Online

    Cash and jewellery have been stolen from a property in Honiton, police have said.

    The burglary happened in Northcote Hill between 13:30 on Tuesday 12 February and 14:30 on Thursday 14 February.

    Entry was gained by forcing a window, officers added.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Devon and Cornwall Police by phoning 101.

    The force is also reminding people to stay vigilant and to report any suspicious persons or vehicles.

  8. Recent Devon job losses down to 'variety of reasons'

    Daniel Clark

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    A recent spate of regional job losses in Devon totalling about 1,300 posts is down to a variety of reasons and not just Brexit, Devon County Council's economy cabinet member says.

    Cabinet member councillor Rufus Gilbert was asked by councillor Rob Hannaford, leader of the authority's opposition Labour group, to report on the job losses.

    His report to the council's full council meeting included observations on job losses announced by:

    It also looked at potential changes to Premier Foods in Lifton and Flybe at Exeter Airport after the Exeter-based airline announced a takeover by Connect Airways.

    Speaking at the council's full council meeting on Thursday, Mr Gilbert told councillors that there was a "wide variety of reasons" for the job losses, and not a "single reason", alluding a suggestion by Mr Hannaford's that Brexit uncertainty was to blame.

    Barden Corporation, Plymouth
    Quote Message: Devon’s labour market currently remains tight with many companies experiencing difficulties in recruiting staff. The percentage of the working age population claiming unemployment benefits remains historically low at around 1.2%, around half the national average." from Councillor Rufus Gilbert Cabinet member, Devon County Council
    Councillor Rufus GilbertCabinet member, Devon County Council
  9. BreakingSix teens arrested on suspicion of attempted murder

    Hayley Westcott

    BBC News Online

    Six teenage boys have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a serious assault in Plymouth, police have said.

    Officers were called to Whitleigh Footbridge on Bodmin Road at about 21:20 on 22 February.

    A 17-year-old boy was taken to hospital with "multiple life-threatening injuries" after he was "assaulted on his torso with a bladed weapon", police said.

    He remains there in a stable condition. His next-of-kin have been informed.

    Whitleigh Footbridge on Bodmin Road
    Image caption: It happened on Whitleigh Footbridge on Bodmin Road in Plymouth

    Three 15-year-old boys and one boy, aged 14, were released on police bail until 20 March.

    Two boys aged 16 and 17 were released under investigation pending further inquires.

    A bladed weapon was located at the scene, officers added.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Devon and Cornwall Police via 101.

  10. Driver taken to hospital after Truro crash

    Hayley Westcott

    BBC News Online

    A driver in their 70s was taken to hospital after a crash in Truro, police have said.

    Emergency services were called to Tregolls Road at about 08:25.

    It's believed the driver suffered a medical episode and no-one else was involved.

    The extent of injuries is not known, officers added.

  11. Respite centre closing 'because it does not fit NHS plans'

    Laurence Reed

    BBC Radio Cornwall

    A respite centre in Cornwall for people with mental health problems is closing because it does not fit in with the long-term plans for improving services in Cornwall, health bosses say.

    Oakleigh House is a five-bedroom facility in Menheniot near Liskeard. Guests from across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly can stay for a week at a time up to four times a year.

    NHS Kernow confirmed last week it was to stop its funding on 31 March.

    Dozens of people have spoken out against the closure and users who contacted the BBC said they were "gutted" it was closing, with one saying it had "saved my life".

    Dr Paul Cook, the mental health lead for the NHS Kernow, said the decision could not be made just on how many people liked the service "as much as this is so important".

    Quote Message: The decision has been made in terms of how this fits in to how we can increase and develop services further in mental health across the county for everyone." from Dr Paul Cook NHS Kernow
    Dr Paul CookNHS Kernow
  12. Cornwall council tax rise of nearly 4% to be debated

    BBC Radio Cornwall

    Council tax in Cornwall could rise as the authority prepares for a meeting on Tuesday to agree on its budget for the year ahead.

    At the beginning of the month, cabinet members approved a move that would see council tax go up by nearly 4% from April.

    If approved by the full council, it would mean about an extra £73 per year on an average band D property.

    Council tax form