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Students strike for climate change across South West

Students are striking again to encourage governments to take action on climate change.

Some of those striking schools in the South West met in Exeter at Devon County Hall at 11:00 and at Bedford Square at 12:30.

The students are part of an international movement of people protesting for those in power to recognise the impacts of climate change.

Students are striking in other areas including Plymouth, Tiverton, Truro and Taunton.


Council backs St Boniface as patron saint of Devon

St Boniface has been adopted as the patron saint of Devon.

Devon County Council voted in favour of the decision on Thursday.

St Boniface was born in Crediton and studied at the monastery in Exeter.

He later travelled to Europe as a missionary and was made Bishop of all Germany East of the Rhine by Pope Gregory in 722AD. Later he was martyred in 754AD at Dokkum in the Netherlands and buried at Fulda in Germany.

St Boniface Day is 5 June.

The Boniface Link Association has been campaigning to have him officially made the county's patron saint.

The Bishop of Exeter's new St Boniface medal to honour people who volunteer in their church communities

Weather: Fine and warm with chance of scattered showers

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

It will remain fine and warm with a good deal of sunny spells around.

However, some scattered showers are also likely to develop this afternoon.

Maximum temperature: 19C (66F).

weather map

Drugs gang jailed after £66k worth of drugs seized

Millicent Cooke

BBC News Online

A drugs gang has been jailed for supplying class A drugs to "vulnerable people".

A total of 547g of heroin and 130g of crack cocaine, with a potential street value of over £66,000, was seized.

A number of other assets including £22,000 in cash, a caravan and a Yamaha WaveRunner, were also confiscated.

Det Insp Mike Jones said: “This group targeted and supplied drugs to vulnerable users across south Devon perpetuating the cycle of crime and the misery that drugs bring.

"We will continue to take the fight to drug suppliers like this and I can assure you we have many more in our sights”.

Jamie Martin, Kelly Woodward and Paul Willis
Devon and Cornwall Police

Jamie Martin, 46, of Lower Cannon Road, Newton Abbot was sentenced to seven years.

Kelly Woodward, 36, of Lower Cannon Road, Newton Abbot was sentenced to six years and three months.

Paul Willis, 41, of Templer Place, Bovey Tracey was sentenced to six years.

At a previous hearing all three pleaded guilty.

Independents take control of council

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The new leader of East Devon District Council has promised the public will be listened to as Independents took control of the council.

Councillor Ben Ingham, leader of the Independent Group in East Devon, was elected unanimously as the leader of the council at Wednesday night’s annual meeting.

The Independent Group are the largest on the council, with 20 members, and will run the council as a minority administration.

They take control of the council from the Conservatives who had run it since 1974 when it was first formed.

Ben Ingham
Daniel Clark

Mystery surrounds cancelled Flybe flight

Devon Live

Flybe has apologised after one of its flights from Exeter Airport was mysteriously cancelled on Wednesday.

European elections 2019: Polls take place across the UK

Polling station

Voters are heading to the polls for the European Parliament elections.

Seventy-three members, known as MEPs, will be elected in nine constituencies in England, and one each in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Each region has a different number of representatives based on its population - ranging from three MEPs in the North East and Northern Ireland to 10 MEPs in the South East.

In the South West six MEPs will be elected.

Polling stations in the UK are open until 22:00 BST.

Plymouth office block's new lease of life from university

BBC Spotlight

A landmark building in the centre of Plymouth looks set to be transformed by the city's university.

Intercity House

It's announced plans to rejuvenate the Intercity House office block next to the railway station.

The idea is to use it for the university's health, nursing and midwifery work.

It's hoped the new role will act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the railway station area.

Crime commissioner Hernandez in stalking debate

BBC Radio Devon

Devon and Cornwall Police Crime Comissioner Alison Hernandez is to give others advice on how to overcome being a victim of stalking and abuse.

Alison Hernandez

She'll address a seminar being held at Exeter Golf and Country Club by a new Exeter business group called Fernpower, which aims to help empower women in business who are faced with obstacles like discrimination or domestic abuse.

Last September, Alison's former partner was given a suspended sentence for assaulting and stalking her.

Weather: Chance of odd shower but sunny spells too

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

Banks of cloud with slowly edge in from the South West later, possibly bringing a threat of the odd light shower.

However, there should be some bright or sunny spells too.

Maximum temperature: 18C (64F).

weather map

Woman missing in Exeter

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

Police are appealing for information about a woman who is missing from Exeter.

There are concerns for the welfare of Leanne Chiplin, 29, who has been missing since Tuesday morning.

Officers from Devon and Cornwall Police are carrying out urgent inquiries to find Ms Chiplin and are urging the public to report any sightings to them.

"She is described as white, 5ft 4ins tall, of slim build, with long straight blonde hair."

"She was last seen possibly wearing a long grey coat," the force added.

Leanne Chiplin
Devon and Cornwall Police

Building firm collapse leaves customers owed thousands

John Ayres

BBC Spotlight

Exeter-based builders Four Seasons Home Improvements has gone into administration, leaving some of its customers with thousands of pounds worth of unfinished work on their properties.


Father-of-three James Eagle from Menheniot, who has an unfinished extension, said: "We are estimating we will be £79,000 out of pocket so financially we are a bit stuck."

An Ivybridge woman with Parkinson's Disease was having her home converted for a wheelchair, but she has already paid £30,000 and the work hasn't been done.

Administrators Antony Batty and Hugh Jesseman said they were "assessing the position with a view to selling all or part of the business & assets".

South West weather: Dry and sunny

BBC Weather

After any isolated fog patches clear, it will be another dry day, with sunny periods, some of which are likely to be a little hazier than the past few days.

A little fair weather cloud is also likely to develop during the afternoon.

Winds will be mainly light and variable.

Maximum temperature: 14 to 17°C (57 to 63°F).


Weather chart


Weather chart

Police officer failed to arrest man with crack cocaine

A Devon and Cornwall Police officer - who failed to arrest a man found in possession of crack cocaine - has been given a final written warning.

It follows an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct into a stop and search.

The incident was referred by the force in November 2017 after others raised concerns.

A hearing found the police constable had committed gross misconduct for failing to arrest the man for a drugs offence.

The officer had the grounds to arrest the suspect for a drugs offence but chose not to. The officer’s improper conduct and failure to appropriately handle and log evidence meant the man could not be subsequently prosecuted for any offence relating to the drugs found on him. His actions compromised the integrity of the investigation and also put his colleagues in a difficult position.”

OPC Regional Director Catrin Evans

A referral was also made to the Crown Prosecution Service as there was an indication a criminal offence may have been committed. The CPS decided not to authorise any charge.

Takeaways dish up wheat, egg and milk to allergy sufferers

Alison Johns

BBC South West

Kebab shops in Devon and Somerset are being warned they must do more to provide safe food for allergy sufferers.

Inspections by the Trading Standards Service found more than 40% of kebab takeaways failed to comply with laws designed to keep consumers safe.

Officers visited 38 takeaways in Devon and Somerset. In five cases, milk was found in kebab meat without it being on the label. In 12 cases where officers said they had allergies to wheat, egg and milk, they were still served food which contained them.

Getty Images

Nineteen arrested in County Lines crackdown

Charley Adams

BBC News Online

As part of a national crackdown on County Lines drug gangs, 19 people have been arrested, thousands of pounds of drugs have been seized, as well as £81,000 cash.

Devon and Cornwall Police officers joined forces with Regional Organised Crime Units across the country for a national week of action to disrupt the activity of suspected County Lines networks.

County Lines is the term used to describe urban gangs supplying drugs to other parts of the UK using dedicated mobile phone lines.

Police said the gangs are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults in order to move and store drugs and money, often using coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons.

Between 13 and 20 May:

  • 19 people were arrested - 16 men and three women.
  • 33 vulnerable adults and two children were engaged for safeguarding purposes.
  • 49 suspected 'cuckooed' addresses - where drug dealers target the vulnerable - were visited.
  • Officers seized £81,187 in cash.
  • Suspected Class A drugs, including around £7,000 of cocaine, 45 wraps of heroin, crack cocaine, plus suspected cannabis and unknown tablets were also seized.
  • Seven weapons were seized including knives, a BB gun and an axe.
  • Nine mobile phones were seized, plus £25,000 of designer goods.

Throughout the week we have taken action against suspected individuals as well as giving support to young people and vulnerable people who are at risk from County Lines. Young people and vulnerable adults are exposed to physical and mental abuse from these organised networks, and in some instances are trafficked to places a long way from home.

Antony HartDet Supt

Project to help people make sustainable clothes choices

BBC Spotlight

Exeter University is running a new project which aims to encourage people to be more sustainable when choosing their clothes.


Volunteers have spent the year learning how to make clothes and mend and recycle old garments.

They have even been taught how to make their own fabric and wool.

How you can help medical science with hospital research

BBC Spotlight

Researchers have been encouraging people to take part in clinical trials to try to help further medical science.

The work being carried out by the University of Exeter and the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital covers a range of conditions.

It can involve taking a new medicine or having a pre-existing symptom regularly monitored.

They're also hoping to involve more children in their trials and there's more information on how to get involved here.

Weather: Fine, dry and sunny

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

Early fog patches will quickly clear to leave another fine and dry day with some good periods of sunshine.

Some patchy fair weather cloud is likely to build as the day progresses, particularly along southern coastal areas.

Winds will be light and variable with sea breezes developing during the afternoon.

Maximum temperature: 14 to 17C (57 to 63F).

Dealing with mental health in low income communities, is not purely a medical problem
Dealing with mental health in low-income communities is not purely a medical problem, says new research.

Pupils planting wildflowers in schools

Charley Adams

BBC News Online

Primary schools across Exeter have started a new wildflower seed sowing initiative.

Students will be sowing wildflowers to bring colour and wildlife interest to school grounds in the 'sow and share' project.

The wildflower seeds given to the 20 primary schools include many rare species that are declining in the Devon countryside. These include cornflowers, common poppies and corn chamomile.

Georgia Scott, a teacher from Willowbrook primary school said: “The children have really enjoyed getting stuck into the hard work preparing the grounds for the seeds. It has helped them to become real wildlife champions, we can’t wait to see the flowers grow”.

Any remaining seeds from the project run by Devon Wildlife Trust will be given to the children and their families for sowing in their own gardens.

Hand holding seeds

New 'retail park' on Exeter Tesco car park plans approved

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Plans for a new "retail park" on land next to Exeter’s Vale Tesco Extra superstore have been approved.

The scheme, submitted back in December 2017, has finally been given approval by Exeter City Council planners.

It would see a new 1,230 sq m building with 46 parking spaces built on land inside the existing, huge overflow car park off Russell Way.

No details as to the occupants of the store have been revealed, but the application was for a non-food retail unit.

The application was given planning permission by city council officers under delegated powers last week.

Exeter retail park plan

Chelsea Flower Show: Interest takes root for SW growers

BBC Spotlight

Chelsea Flower Show

Horticultural exhibitors from the south west are showing off their skills to Her Majesty the Queen at the Chelsea Flower Show.

They have been putting their finishing touches to exhibits for the show ahead of judging.

One of those on display is the Duchess of Cambridge-designed garden titled Back to Nature, which is due to head to NHS Langdon in Dawlish after the event.

You can find more coverage of the show on the BBC website here.

Chelsea Flower Show
Chelsea Flower Show

Authorised travellers sites could be created across Devon

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A network of authorised transit sites for gypsies and travellers to stay at across Devon could be created.

Councils across the county have agreed to seek a more coordinated way to deal with influx of travellers who often turn up at "high profile and unsuitable" locations.

Devon County Council, working with district councils, is exploring the creation of a "network" of pieces of land across Devon, with one or two in each district area, in which gypsies and travellers can be directed to if they turn up in those unsuitable locations.

A willingness to explore negotiated stopping has been agreed already. It would means that local authorities would no longer resort immediately to legal means.

Instead they would direct travelling families to stay, for limited periods of time, on land already identified and agreed where it isn’t causing great inconvenience to anyone.

Travellers in car park
Daniel Clark

Pioneering £2.7m project will help dementia sufferers

BBC Radio Devon

A £2.7m project led by the University of Plymouth will use artificial intelligence to personalise live radio, to help people living alone with dementia.

Radio Me will seamlessly "remix" live digital broadcasts so that listeners receive personalised reminders, information and music.

It's hoped that will improve their quality of life and keep them at home for longer.

The AI software will be created at the university and trialled for 50 months in Cambridgeshire and Sussex.


University declares environment and climate emergency

Charley Adams

BBC News Online

The University of Exeter has declared an environment and climate emergency.

It has established a team to support those calling for urgent action by governments, councils and other organisations to tackle climate change.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, vice-chancellor at the University of Exeter said:"At the University of Exeter, we have some of the best teams anywhere in the world working on climate change and the environment.

"We are working with policy makers locally, nationally and globally and will continue to work in partnership at every level from local councils to the inter-governmental panel on climate change at the United Nations to make a difference.

On 23 May a public event will be held on the Streatham campus to look at action beyond the declaration of a climate emergency, hosted by the Global Systems Institute. Also, on 3 June the Environment and Sustainability Institute will host an event with Cornwall Council.

University of Exeter
Exeter University

The future of our planet and community is at stake. We want to support those calling for urgent action and show our commitment to leading the change required by declaring an environment and climate emergency.”

Professor Steve SmithVice-chancellor, University of Exeter

Box clever? Royal Mail launching new parcel postboxes

BBC Business News

Parcel post box
Royal Mail

Royal Mail has announced plans for the UK's first-ever parcel postboxes.

The company said 1,400 of the new postboxes would be installed across the country in more than 30 locations over a six-month period, starting in August.

In Devon and Cornwall, the locations include Exeter, Plymouth and Truro.

Customers will be able to post parcels in the same way that they currently post a letter, provided that postage has been pre-paid using Royal Mail's own online labelling service.

Existing letter postboxes were introduced in the 1850s and Royal Mail said the new move represented the first major change in the system since then.

Weather: Bright or sunny spells, but rain possible

BBC Weather

There will be bright or sunny spells throughout Monday.

It should be dry but there is a chance of a few showers developing, most likely this afternoon. Feeling pleasantly warm in the sunshine.

Maximum temperature: 14 to 17C (57 to 63F).

Hundreds of enthusiasts turn out for last high speed train journey
After more than 40 years of service, the old InterCity 125 trains have made their last journey.

UKIP candidate 'a risk to public order'

Jenna Hawkey

BBC News Online

Carl Benjamin

Exeter Cathederal has confirmed it has excluded a UKIP candidate from a public hustings because they may cause "a risk to public order".

The party announced earlier today that their European Elections candidate Carl Benjamin had been barred from event on 22 May.

UKIP Devon's chairwoman, Margaret Dennis, labelled the decision by Exeter Cathedral as "outrageous" and "an affront to democracy".

Under the rules of the Electoral Commission we may exclude candidates from a non-selective hustings for a number of reasons, including concerns about public order. In this case, the Cathedral believes that the presence of one particular candidate may cause a risk to public order, given a number of incidents over the last few weeks. UKIP has been invited to send another candidate from its list of six candidates standing for election in the South West region."

Spokesperson, Exeter Cathederal

Last week, two protesters threw milkshake at Mr Benjamin at a rally in Truro.

Weather: Rain overnight but a bright day tomorrow

BBC Weather

Outbreaks of rain may linger through the course of the night.

However, it should become largely dry by dawn, though a few mist patches may develop.

Minimum temperature: 7 to 10C (45 to 50F)

weather chart

Tomorrow, any mist will clear early.

It will be a bright day with sunny spells, variable amounts of cloud and a few potentially sharp showers.

Maximum temperature: 13 to 16C (55 to 61F)

UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin 'barred' from public hustings

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

UKIP European election candidate, Carl Benjamin has been barred from appearing at a public hustings in Exeter, according to the party.

They attacked the decision by Exeter Cathedral with its Devon chairman, Margaret Dennis calling it "outrageous" and "an affront to democracy".

Police are currently investigating remarks made by Mr Benjamin after Labour MP Jess Phillips accused him of malicious communications.

UKIP said Cathedral authorities told them they were unable to host Mr Benjamin because it was their opinion that he posed "a security risk" and they "could not condone his remarks about women".

Mrs Dennis said Mr Benjamin is an "articulate and intelligent advocate" for UKIP and for free speech.

Last week, two protesters threw milkshake at Mr Benjamin at a rally in Truro.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Mr Benjamin was read rape survivors comments on the Victoria Derbyshire show, after criticism of his 2016 social media comments in which he told Labour MP Jess Phillips "I wouldn't even rape you"...