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MP candidate quits after BBC interview

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

Kirsten Johnson has resigned as a Liberal Democrat candidate for MP after an interview on BBC Radio 4.

When asked why her prospective North Devon constituents voted Leave in the Brexit referendum three years ago, Mrs Johnson said it was because they are "98% white", and "don't travel a lot".

In a post on Facebook, she said she was "acutely aware" her comments had caused offence, adding she had "lost the thread" of what she was saying.

Mrs Johnson said her words were "interpreted in ways that I certainly did not intend or believe about the people of North Devon".

Kirsten Johnson
Kirsten Johnson
Mary Truell: The 91-year-old walking 91 miles
Mary Truell is walking 91 miles across Devon's nature reserves to raise money for their upkeep.

Woman walker, 91, smashes £3,000 charity target

BBC Spotlight

A 91-year-old woman is walking 91 miles around all 50 of Devon Wildlife Trust's nature reserves to raise money for the charity.

Mary Truell

Mary Truell, from Lympstone in east Devon, hopes her journey will encourage more people to get out and about and enjoy them more.

She's already smashed her target of £3,000 with 24 miles still to go.

"It's been a wonderful experience," she said.

"People have been very kind and very generous."

Devon and Cornwall weather: A day of sunshine ahead

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

It will be a dry and fine day with almost unbroken sunshine.

It was also feel pleasantly warm with mainly light northeasterly winds that will be moderate at times towards the south coast.

Max temperature: 19C (66F).

Weather map

'Hundreds of nursing shifts go unfilled' in south west

Jenny Walrond

Health Correspondent, BBC Spotlight

More than 1,100 nursing and health care assistant shifts went unfilled in just one week across three of the region's hospitals, according to figures gathered by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).


The figures suggest almost double that number had been filled with agency and bank staff.

Trusts say they are working to recruit more staff and deploy existing staff to ensure patient safety isn't compromised.

The RCN has launched a petition and says it is a problem that affects everyone:

Susan Masters, from the RCN, said: "We need the citizens of this country to understand that nursing affects all of them, that we need to have the numbers in place, the right numbers of staff in the right place with the right skills to care for them and their families."

Devon and Cornwall weather: A dry day with sunny spells

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

Any patchy cloud on Tuesday morning will largely clear and will otherwise be dry with good spells of sunshine.

Feeling pleasant in the sun.

Highs of 20C (68F).

Weather map

MP candidate apologises over 'white' North Devon comments

BBC Radio Devon

The Liberal Democrats' prospective parliamentary candidate for North Devon has apologised after she said the area was "98% white" and local people had not "appreciated" the EU.

Some 57% of people in the area who took part in the 2016 European Union referendum voted to leave the EU.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4 on Sunday afternoon's The World This Weekend, Dr Kirsten Jones said: "We don't have a lot of ethnic minorities living in North Devon, people aren’t exposed to people from other countries, they don’t travel a lot and I think there is a slight disconnect that North Devon being isolated, being rural and low income perhaps hasn’t appreciated the advantages of being in the European Union."

North Devon's incumbent MP, Conservative Peter Heaton-Jones, had demanded she apologised, saying: "She was saying: 'you're too white, you're too poor, you're not well-travelled to make the right decision and therefore the Liberal Democrats are going to have to tell you what you should be thinking'.

"That is an extraordinarily patronising and condescending offensive thing to say about the majority view here in North Devon."

Dr Johnson said on Twitter she "misspoke", adding her comments "do not reflect my views or that of my party.

View more on twitter

Devon and Cornwall weather: Overnight cloud clearing

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

Apart from the odd spot of drizzle on Monday evening, a mainly dry but largely cloudy night is anticipated. Later in the night, clear spells will develop from the north. A chillier night.

Minimum temperature: 9C (48F).


A dry Tuesday with some areas of cloud initially, but there will be more in the way of sunshine later in the day. Gentle northerly breezes.

Maximum temperature: 19C (66F).

Exeter county councillor resigns

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A Labour Party county councillor representing Exeter has resigned, triggering a by-election.

Cllr Emma Brennan, who represented the Heavitree and Whipton ward, was first elected to the council in May 2017.

No reasons for her stepping down have been announced.

A by-election to elect her replacement is set to take place on 24 October.

Nominations for candidates must be received by Exeter City Council, who are administrating the election on behalf of Devon County Council, by 16:00 on 27 September.

The list of nominated candidates will be published on 30 September and anyone wishing to vote must be registered by 8 October.

The elected councillor would serve until May 2021, when the next elections are due to be held.

Campaigners protest to save fire station

Anna Varle

BBC News Online

People in Ashburton have been campaigning to keep their fire station open.

People in Ashburton took to the streets again to campaign to keep their fire station open.

It is the latest demonstration over planned changes to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service which could see eight stations close.

The fire service says it needs to focus more on prevention and that there is a big drop in the number of incidents.

However, the Ashburton crew claim they were called out six times in the past week.

Half way through the march, they got another call to go to Ivybridge as standby because of a shortage of appliances in the area.

A consultation is underway looking into the proposals.

Kev Lewis, the officer in charge of Ashburton Fire Station

It just emphasises the case for keeping every appliance and every station in the service open and hopefully keep us fully crewed so that they're all available to do these kind of moves."

Kev LewisOfficer in charge of Ashburton Fire Station

Burning car found on roof in Buckfastleigh

Charley Adams

BBC News Online

burnt out car on roof
Buckfastleigh Fire Station

Fire crews were called to reports of a car on fire in the early hours of Sunday morning.

On arrival, the crew from Buckfastleigh found a car on Church Hill that was on its roof and on fire.

All passengers had fled the scene.

The crew put out the fire and searched the area.

car on fire
Buckfastleigh Fire Station

Accidental deaths around SW coasts 'more than double'

Lucie Fisher

BBC South West

There’s been a big increase in the number of accidental deaths around the Devon and Cornwall coast this year, according to new figures.

Data from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency shows that, in the 12 months up to September, 28 people died in the sea and in rivers, compared with 11 the previous year.

Experts said men were more likely to take risks, along with people who were away from home and on holiday.

Sea shore

There's a lot of research about tourists versus home behaviour and it proves people on holiday perform more risky behaviour than those at home."

Dr Isabel RichterPsychologist

Devon and Cornwall weather: A cloudy and drizzly day

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

A dull and overcast start to Monday with low cloud giving misty conditions over high ground.

It will remain pretty cloudy with some drizzle at times, especially over the moors and along the north coast, where mist and fog patches will persist.

Max: 20C (68F).


Accidental deaths around SW coasts 'more than double'

Lucie Fisher

BBC Spotlight

There’s been a big increase in the number of accidental deaths around the Devon and Cornwall coast this year, according to new figures.

The figures from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency show in the 12 months up to September, 28 people died in the sea and in rivers compared with 11 in the previous year.

Experts say men are more likely to take risks along with people who are away from home and on holiday.


There's a lot of research about tourists versus home behaviour and it proves people on holiday perform more risky behaviour than those at home.

Dr Isabel RichterPsychologist

Devon and Cornwall weather: A cloudy and drizzly day

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

A dull and overcast start to the day with low cloud giving misty conditions over high ground.

It will remain pretty cloudy with some drizzle at times, especially over the moors and along the north coast, where mist and fog patches will persist.

Max: 20C (68F).

weather map

Devon and Cornwall weather: Cloud clearing as winds drop

BBC Weather

Any lingering cloud will quickly clear overnight on Friday to leave it dry with lengthy clear spells. Winds will fall light too.

Minimum Temperature: 7 to 11C (45 to 52F).

A dry and settled Saturday tomorrow with lengthy sunny spells and winds remaining light. Turning a little warmer.

Maximum Temperature: 17 to 21C (63 to 70F).

Ryan Lowe: Plymouth Argyle manager has street kickabout with kids
Plymouth Argyle manager Ryan Lowe has an impromptu kickabout in the city's streets with some local children.

PCC to present summer funding case to Home Office

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall will head to London this month to argue that the force should receive an additional £15m to compensate it for the cost of policing a "summer surge" of visitors.

Alison Hernandez says the force is put under additional strain because the two counties host more domestic visitors than any other.

The Special Grant Application is being finalised by staff at the PCC’s office.

It contains detailed facts and figures that explain the additional pressures placed on officers and staff between April and September.

Alison Hernandez

The tourism sector is vitally important to the South West, and contributes at least £300m a year to the Treasury through VAT. This application is about trying to get some of that money back so we can help to keep visitors and our resident population safe. We have invested heavily in additional resources like a rural and wildlife crime team, collaborations with other blue light services and additional roads policing teams to help to cope with a rise in requests for help because of the summer surge."

Alison HernandezPolice and Crime Commissioner, Devon and Cornwall

Local shops milk project aims to reduce plastic packaging

BBC Radio Devon

Seventeen independently-owned shops across Devon and Somerset have started offering a new way of buying milk - without plastic packaging.

Customers at shops that offer the service across East, North and Mid Devon can take along their own reusable jugs or bottles to refill from a milk machine - which is topped up by local dairy farm, Gundenham Dairy each day.

It's hoped the move will encourage shoppers to think about the environment - whilst supporting a local business.


We get the milk delivered every day. We're going through about four cartons which holds about 24 pints. It comes fresh every day. I wanted to get something that would help everybody start using less plastic."

Debbie ClarkBroadclyst Village Stores

Delays to superfast broadband 'short-changing' rural Devon

BBC Spotlight

Campaigners are reacting angrily to further delays in bringing superfast broadband to the most rural parts of Devon and Somerset.

The company responsible for the publicly funded roll-out, Gigaclear has lost its contract.

The Connecting Devon and Somerset Partnership says it will now start the process of finding a new provider.

It means the scheme is potentially four years behind schedule.

In a statement, it said it was working hard to agree a revised plan and it was "disappointed" not to be able to progress.

Graham Long

For businesses to do things like tax returns, VAT etc - the government expects it to be done online these days. Again, it's this dichotomy between rural and urban areas where rural areas are being short-changed."

Graham LongBroadband campaigner

Councillor attacks management after resigning

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A blistering attack on East Devon District Council’s management has been launched by a councillor who resigned from group running the council.

Councillor Paul Millar, who represents the Exmouth Halsdon ward, quit the Independent Group on Monday night.

In an email announcing his departure from the group, Councillor Millar said he found working with the Senior Management Team and trying to have any influence over his transformation portfolio to be impossible, that he had no confidence in the senior management, and that the Independent Group has little desire to change anything really at all.

Paul Millar

His resignation from the group means that they are no longer the largest party on the council, with both them and the Conservatives having 19 seats each.

In a response, Councillor Ben Ingham, leader of the council, said he thanked Councillor Millar for his contribution but that the "personal and unfounded comments" do not help advance understanding of the work carried out by East Devon District Council’s officers and councillors.

It is understood that Councillor Millar had been sacked from his transformation portfolio role by Councillor Ingham prior to his resignation from the group.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Councillor Millar confirmed he would remain a member of the council and would sit as an Independent.

Devon and Cornwall weather: Spells of sunshine expected

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

Patches of low cloud and any light drizzle will clear towards the south coast and it'll become brighter with spells of sunshine developing more widely through Friday morning.

Light or moderate northeasterly winds will make it feel a little cooler.

Maximum temperature: 20C (68F).

weather map

Cornwall and Devon weather: Some rain before turning drier

BBC Weather

A cloudy start to Thursday night with a few spots of rain. Turning drier through the night with a few clear spells developing. Breezy again.

Minimum Temperature: 10 to 15C (50 to 59F).

A dry and largely settled Friday as high pressure starts to build, with plenty of sunny spells and a gentle to moderate northeasterly breeze.

Maximum Temperature: 16 to 20C (61 to 68F).

Girl, four, to receive award for bravery after 999 call

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

A four-year-old girl is set to be given a "prestigious" award for bravery after calling Devon and Cornwall Police to alert them to her mother's fall.

Isabelle Wilkinson dialled 999 because her mother, Natasha, had fallen unconscious and she could not wake her up.

Officers said although no speech was heard, it was enough for them to head to the address and request the correct medical treatment for Natasha.

999 call display

Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said Isabelle "displayed courage and initiative far above her years".

"Through alerting the police to her mother’s situation we were able to get her the help she required and ensure she could make a full recovery," he said.

"Everyone at Devon and Cornwall Police is incredibly impressed by Isabelle and proud of her.

"I wish to pass on my warmest congratulations for a well-deserved recipient of this prestigious award."

Isabelle will be presented with her award at a ceremony on Friday.

Cornwall and Devon weather: Dull to start

BBC Weather

Thursday will be a dull and damp start with some mist and fog around.

Through the morning, the cloud will lift and in the afternoon there will be some brightness and even some sunshine breaking through for a time.


Later in the afternoon and the evening, the cloud will lower and thicken again from the west, with a return of some drizzle, mist and fog.

It will be breezy with moderate gusting strong south-westerly winds, which will be fresher in the north.

Maximum Temperature: 16 to 20C (61 to 66F).

Police appeal after hundreds of cannabis plants seized

Adam Durbin

BBC News Online

Cannabis plants
Devon & Cornwall Police

Devon and Cornwall Police have appealed for information after more than 460 plants were seized from a Plymouth house.

Officers were called to a property in Waterloo Close on Friday morning after workmen discovered a "sophisticated" cannabis farm.

The production set up had been installed in the upstairs and loft, leaving the landlord and other visitors "none the wiser", according to police.

Cannabis plants
Devon & Cornwall Police

Det Con Nathan Drew, of Plymouth CID, said they were looking for "suspicious males" seen entering or leaving the address over the last few months.

“We are seeking two males of Asian appearance who had rented the property."

“The tenants had been there for approximately nine months and were able to operate without raising any suspicions of their unsuspecting neighbours," DC Drew added.

Anyone who has information is urged to contact police by calling 101, or emailing, quoting crime reference CR/80925/19.

Information can also be passed anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555111, or via their website.

Life monitors in police custody 'first in the world'

Adam Durbin

BBC News Online

Getty Creative Stock

Devon and Cornwall Police have become the first force in the world to install life-signs monitors in its custody suites.

The OxyHealth life-signs monitors allow health professionals to keep an eye on the breathing and heart rates of detainees in custody.

The announcement comes following a recent joint report into the force's custody procedures, which concluded that the force displayed a "strong culture of treating detainees with care and consideration".

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell described the "positive" report as a "reflection of the hard work" of custody staff.

ACC Colwell said "further investments" had been made into a "state-of-the-art policing hub and custody centre" in Exeter.

Devon and Cornwall Police are proud to be leading the world with some of the safety equipment that we have installed in our custody. Treating those in custody with dignity, care and respect is not only ethical and the right thing to do, but is more likely to influence positive outcomes for victims and witnesses."

Jim ColwellAssistant Chief Constable, Devon & Cornwall Police

Custody staffing and overtime required 'improvement'

Adam Durbin

BBC News Online

An "over-reliance on overtime" was an area that needs to be improved, a report into Devon and Cornwall Police's custody procedure identified.

The report outlined that the force could improve its staffing "to ensure safe detention and avoid excessive use of overtime".

Inspectors saw staff working "extended shifts and on rest days" in order to "meet minimum staffing levels".

"Custody officers were sometimes required to work overtime to cover the role of detention officers," the report added.

Sexual grooming crimes 'double' in Devon and Cornwall

BBC Radio Devon

Sexual grooming crimes in Devon and Cornwall have almost doubled with record numbers of children being targeted on social media, according to police.

More than 100 offences were recorded across the two counties last year whereas the previous year it was about 50.

Officers said many of the victims were under the age of 11.

The NSPCC said social media platform Instagram is especially being used to target children.

It added it wants the government to bring in new laws to make accounts more private and stop online grooming.

Young person on computer

Report into police custody finds 'gaps' in data

Adam Durbin

BBC News Online

An unannounced inspection of the running of police custody suites in Devon and Cornwall has been released, concluding the force was "generally delivering good outcomes for detainees".

However, the report did outline a "cause of concern" around the data collation and monitoring, describing the process as "insufficient" and having "gaps" which led to "inaccurate and unreliable" data in several areas.

The report recommended the service must collate "accurate data on all areas of custody" in order to "scrutinise" and improve the custody process.

The joint inspection was conducted by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in May.

It examined the "effectiveness of custody services and outcomes" throughout the detention process, as well as the safe detention and the treatment of detainees, with a particular focus on vulnerable people and children.

Nineteen additional "areas of improvement" were also identified by the report, including over staff deployment and the excessive use of overtime.

Devon and Cornwall weather: Cloudy with rain expected

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

A rather cloudy Wednesday with the odd patch of rain.

It should dry up later though.

Highs of 19C (66F).

weather map

Devon and Cornwall weather: Cloud and fresh winds

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

weather map

By the end of Tuesday night, cloud will cover hills and parts of the coast exposed to moderate or fresh southwesterly winds, which will become strong at times.

Minimum temperature: 10C to 13C.

Wednesday morning will be cloudy with further outbreaks of light rain or drizzle.

Cloud will cover hills and parts of the coast at times, but in the afternoon it should become drier and a little brighter for areas towards the north coast.

Moderate or fresh southwesterly winds will be initially strong at times, but will turn towards the northwest later.

Maximum temperature: 15C to 19C.

Stolen notes: Choir has scammed cash reimbursed

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

A community choir in Mid Devon that was scammed out of more than £2,300 has been reimbursed by a bank, it says.

The VoiceWorx Community Choir, based in Kentisbeare, lost the money in an email scam in January after scammers intercepted emails and impersonated committee members to access cash, Devon Live reported.

The choir said: "At the time of the theft, and despite informing the police and banks, it appeared unlikely that anything more could be done to recover the stolen funds.

"The banks said previously they had fulfilled their legal obligations and could not help the choir after the scammers had sent bogus, but highly plausible emails posing as officers of the choir."

VoiceWorx Community Choir on The One Show

But now, following an investigation by the BBC's The One Show and an article broadcast this week, "the Co-operative Bank has helpfully agreed to refund all of the money as a gesture of good faith", choir leaders said.

The choir said the Co-op Bank has paid £2,318.51, leaving it "with a small reserve to start their new term after paying their debts".

VoiceWorx said members were celebrating "being back in the black" again.

Devon faces £28m black hole in budget

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Devon faces a £28m black hole in its budget and could go into the red for the first time in a generation, councillors will be told.

A report going before Wednesday’s cabinet meeting says the total projected overspend at month four for 2019/20 is £4.3m.

But Mary Davis, the county’s treasurer, said this figure assumed a funding shortfall of £15.8m for special educational needs would not be dealt with this financial year and that planned contributions to reserves of £8m were not made.

Her report says: "Without these two adjustments the projected overspending would be £28.1m."

South West unemployment drops 2.5%

BBC Business News

Unemployment in the South West has continued to fall to a low of less than 2.5%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The latest 2.4% figure of people aged 16-64 unemployed between May and July 2019 is lower than the UK-wide figure of just under 3.8%.

The official figures also showed earnings nationally grew at an annual pace of 3.8%.

The ONS said rising employment was being driven mainly by more women in work, partly due to the rise in the state pension age.

South West unemployment

Beekeepers urged to watch out for Asian hornets

Adrian Campbell

BBC South West environment correspondent

Bee hives

Beekeepers are being urged to keep their eyes peeled for Asian hornets, which are trying to establish themselves in the UK.

The invasive predators are able to eat up to 50 honey bees in a day and can decimate bee hives.

The British Beekeepers Association has launched Asian hornet week in the hope people will look out for them, photograph any and report sightings.

In the British Isles, they have already been reported in Hampshire and in Jersey this year.

One beekeeper who looks after hives at Torpoint has been using a new device to help stop attacks from the predators.

Tim Payne, from Plymouth City Bees, said fitting a false floor - a so-called hornet floor, developed in France - and dummy entrances in some of his hives had been "working well" in preventing an invasion.

In the meantime, Doctor Peter Kennedy from the University of Exeter has been attaching radio tags to some hornets to find out where nests are.

Anyone who does spot an Asian hornet is asked to report it to the GB Non-native Species Secretariat.

Asian hornet warning sign

Two people seriously injured after two-car crash

BBC Spotlight

Two people remain in hospital with serious injuries after a road accident between Bodmin and Wadebridge.

The incident happened at about 18:30 on Monday on the A389 and involved two cars.

Both victims are at Derriford Hospital.

The road was closed for some time.