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M5: Speed restriction in force after oil spillage closure

BBC Radio Devon

Drivers are being warned of delays hours after an oil spillage closed the M5 out of Devon.

The motorway has re-opened after being closed northbound between Wellington and Bridgwater.

Queues tailed back for five miles and drivers have been warned they will take some time to clear.

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BreakingScarlett Keeling killer jailed for 10 years

BBC Radio Devon

Scarlett Keeling
BBC

The man convicted over the sexual assault and killing of Devon teenager Scarlett Keeling has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to the lawyer of Scarlett's mother Fiona Mckeown.

Samson D'Souza was charged alongside another man, Placido Carvalho, after 15-year-old Keeling's body was found on a beach in Goa in 2008.

Both men were cleared of her murder in 2016.

However, a judge overturned D'Souza's earlier acquittal on Wednesday.

Fiona McKeown says she's relieved at the sentence.

Placido Carvalho was cleared of all charges.

Devon and Cornwall weather: Thundery showers and a fresh breeze

BBC Weather

Weather
BBC

Friday will be mainly cloudy with rain at times and a brisk south-westerly wind. The rain is likely to be occasionally heavy, perhaps with a rumble of thunder.

The evening will stay cloudy and wet for a time with further outbreaks of rain, some heavy. However, the rain should ease by dawn.

Temperature: 18 to 21C (64 to 70F).

Travel: M5 closed northbound due to large fuel spillage

BBC Radio Devon

The M5 is closed northbound between junction 26 for Wellington and junction 24 for Bridgewater due to a large fuel spillage stretching about eight miles.

There is a diversion route in place via the A38.

Long delays are expected.

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South West heavy rain 'could impact driving conditions'

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

Heavy rain and possible thunder could cause problems for drivers in the South West on Friday morning, the Met Office has warned.

Traffic is expected to be busy on roads in the region for the beginning of the school summer holidays.

The Met Office said: "On Friday morning heavy rain, which could impact driving conditions in Wales and South West England, will soon spread north-eastwards reaching southern Scotland later."

It said more wet weather later on Friday "will leave parts of southern and southwestern England quite wet during the evening rush hour".

Weather map
Met Office

Urine 'not a treatment' for weever fish stings, RNLI says

BBC Radio Cornwall

The RNLI is again warning people not to treat weever fish and jellyfish stings with urine.

Weever fish
Getty Images

The urban myth continues, even though the treatment is actually hot water.

The warning comes ahead of the summer holidays.

Sex offenders 'facing a lack of rehab and monitoring'

Ben Woolvin

BBC South West Home Affairs correspondent

A child sex offender who’s recently been released from prison and is looking to find a home in the South West, says chaotic living arrangements and a lack of help have increased the risk of him reoffending.

There are also concerns about the level of monitoring by the police.

A freedom of information request by the BBC revealed that each specialist officer in Devon and Cornwall has been assigned 60 sex offenders - when national guidance recommends a maximum of 50.

Diane Wills is from the South West charity, Circles...

The government says it's spending £6m helping vulnerable former prisoners find stable accommodation.

Devon and Cornwall weather: Dry and sunny with showers

BBC Weather

Most of today will be dry with sunny spells, however there will be the chance of a few showers bubbling up at times.

Feeling a little fresher than Wednesday with a light to moderate westerly wind.

Maximum temperature: 21C (69F).

weather map
BBC

Eclipse over Dartmoor

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

Thanks for sending in all your brilliant photos of the lunar eclipse.

This one is from Kestor Rock in Dartmoor, taken by Neil Porter.

Eclipse
Neil Porter

Devon and Cornwall weather: A mostly dry and sunny day

BBC Weather

It will be a dry morning with some sunny spells, although the sunshine may be rather hazy.

The afternoon will be cloudier with an increasing chance of showers developing.

Maximum temperature: 22C (71F).

weather map
BBC

South west has lowest unemployment rate

BBC Business News

The south west region continues to have the lowest rate of unemployment in the country at 2.6%.

Unemployment across the UK was 3.8% between March and May 2019. The rate is at its lowest since late 1974.

It was highest in the North East at 5.6% which saw no change on the previous quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Figures also showed wage growth in the UK was 3.6% in the year to May 2019, the highest growth rate since 2008.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49002056

Unemployment graph
BBC

MP urges government to prevent Vanessa George release

Adam Durbin

BBC News Online

Luke Pollard, the Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, has urged the government to intervene over the planned release from prison of Vanessa George, dubbed "Britain's worst female paedophile".

Mr Pollard told the Commons on Monday that the decision must be reviewed.

Speaker John Bercow advised that he "persist" in his efforts to force the Parole Board to think again.

The 49-year-old - who worked at Little Teds nursery at Plymouth - was jailed in 2009, but the Parole Board has recommended that she be freed under "strict" conditions as she is no longer regarded as a "significant risk" to the public.

George was convicted of abusing more than 60 toddlers and sending photographs of them to other paedophiles.

Vanessa George
Devon and Cornwall Police

Devon and Cornwall weather: Sunny and a gentle breeze

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

It should be a largely dry day with sunny spells and fairly warm with light winds.

However, there is the chance of a few light showers passing through.

It will be dry overnight with some clear periods, becoming cloudier later in the night with the potential for some mist to form as well.

Weather
BBC

Devon and Cornwall weather: Showers fading but may return

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

Any showers should fade on Monday evening to leave it dry in the night with mostly clear skies and light winds.

Minimum temperature: 9 to 12C (48 to 54F).

Weather
BBC

After a fine and sunny start to Tuesday, there will once again be a risk of a few showers during the late morning and afternoon.

Maximum temperature: 19 to 22C (66 to 72F).

Taking the lead: Recruitment drive for more therapy dogs

Janine Jansen

BBC Spotlight

There's a big recruitment drive in the South West for more volunteers with therapy dogs.

The charity Pets as Therapy currently has more than 250 canines working in the region.

Patients at Torbay Hospital's intensive care unit get regular visits from the charity volunteers and their pets.

Matthew Robinson works for the charity...

Paignton Zoo elephant Duchess dies at 49

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

duchess
Paington Zoo

An elephant that has lived at a Devon zoo for more than 40 years has died.

Female African elephant Duchess collapsed in her house at Paignton Zoo early on Sunday morning.

Despite a "determined and extended response from her keepers", the decision was made to euthanize her, staff said.

Duchess was born in 1970 and came to Paignton in 1977 and, for many years, lived with female Asian elephant Gay.

Senior head keeper of mammals Rob Rouse said it's been a "difficult time".

It’s a shock to the whole team, in particular those who worked with her closely and she will be sadly missed, she was a massive part of our zoo family."

Rob RouseSenior Head Keeper of Mammals, Paignton Zoo

New A303 safety measures a 'token effort'

BBC Radio Devon

The husband of a woman killed in a fatal crash on one of the main routes through the South West - the A303 - said he is "disappointed" by new safety improvements.

Trudi McHugh died in a crash on the A303 Ilminster bypass in 2015.

Paul McHugh said that the changes represent a "token effort" and do not go far enough to improve safety on the road.

Road managers said new safety work on the road was due to start on Monday night, including extra signs and coloured spaces.

Roundabout
Google

Devon and Cornwall weather: Sunny and a gentle breeze

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

After a fine and sunny morning, it will become increasingly warm, although cloud will soon bubble up and allow a few light showers to develop Monday afternoon.

Any showers should fade in the evening to leave it dry with mostly clear skies and light winds overnight.

Weather
BBC

Devon and Cornwall weather: Sunny and a gentle breeze

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

After a fine and sunny morning, it will become increasingly warm, although cloud will soon bubble up and allow a few light showers to develop Monday afternoon.

Any showers should fade in the evening to leave it dry with mostly clear skies and light winds overnight.

Weather
BBC

Devon and Cornwall weather: Sunny intervals and a gentle breeze

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

After some late sunshine this evening, Friday night will be largely dry with clear spells, variable amounts of cloud and light to moderate northerly winds.

Early on Saturday areas of cloud will break up to allow sunny spells for most of the day.

There is a small chance of a few isolated showers developing during the afternoon and clear spells overnight.

Minimum temperature: 14C (57F).

Devon and Cornwall weather
BBC

Devon and Cornwall weather: Dry with sunny spells

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

It will be a dry day and, although a little cloudy at times, there will be some longer sunny spells developing.

Light or moderate northwesterly winds will be fresher at times towards the north coast and the far west.

Maximum: 22C (72F)

weather
BBC

Devon and Cornwall weather: Dry but increasingly cloudy

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

Thursday morning will start largely dry with some bright or sunny periods, but cloud will be increasing through the afternoon with some scattered outbreaks of light rain or drizzle developing.

Cloud will also lower later in the afternoon and some hill fog patches are likely to develop to the west by evening.

Southwesterly winds will be mainly light or moderate but fresher for time around the north coast.

Maximum Temperature:18 to 20C (64 to 68F).

weather
BBC

Devon and Cornwall weather: More cloud but mostly dry

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

During Wednesday, cloud will be increasing from the northwest with mostly cloudy skies expected after midnight.

Most places should stay dry, but some patches of light rain or drizzle cannot be ruled out.

Minimum temperature: 11 to 14C (52 to 57F).

Devon and Cornwall weather
BBC

Thursday will be mostly cloudy day but also staying fairly dry for most of the morning and afternoon.

A few brighter spells likely in the afternoon, but a little drizzle is expected later.

Maximum temperature: 20 to 23C (68 to 73F).

South West Water 'on track to cut pollution incidents'

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

South West Water (SWW) says it is "on track" to deliver "zero serious and significant pollution incident" targets by 2020 after being strongly criticised by the Environment Agency.

The utility achieved just two stars out of a possible four after an "unacceptable level of performance", the Environment Agency said in its annual report.

It was also given a red rating for pollution incidents for "consistently demonstrating unacceptable performance".

SWW said it achieved its "best ever wastewater performance in 2018", but it also recognised "there is still more to do and we have an action plan in place to continue to drive improvement".

It added that, as well as aiming for zero serious and significant pollution incidents, it was working on "a further reduction in other incidents and 100% compliance with wastewater permits".

"We will continue to work alongside the Environment Agency to achieve this," it said.

South West Water HQ
BBC

SWW provides water and sewerage services to Devon, Cornwall, plus parts of Dorset and Somerset.

Fire cuts 'could hit medical emergency responses'

Ben Woolvin

BBC South West Home Affairs correspondent

A north Devon mum, who believes her son's life was saved by firefighters trained as medical co-responders, is warning "we are all in big trouble" if proposed closures of fire stations in Devon and Somerset go ahead.

Josh Clark collapsed with seizures after contracting meningitis five years ago.

His mother, Nicola Clark, said she was told the nearest ambulance was almost half an hour away, but firefighters from Woolacombe, trained as co-responders, attended within minutes and provided oxygen that could have prevented severe brain damage.

Nicola Clark
BBC

I feel that, without their response, areas like this don't have a chance."

Nicola Clark

A public consultation into the controversial proposals has started, which sees seven stations in Devon and one in Somerset earmarked for complete closure, while another eight could lose one of their engines.

The service said it wanted to bring an outdated service into the 21st Century and fire incidents in both areas had decreased 36% between 2008 and 2018.

South Western Ambulance Service said it was aware of the proposals but that it had "no concerns about the provision of fire co-responders, and will continue to maintain a high level of community response".

Funding system 'costing NHS in Devon staff'

BBC Radio Devon

Devon is losing out on hundreds of NHS staff because the health secretary is misinformed about how the funding system works, according to the Labour leader of Plymouth City Council.

Tudor Evans said he had written to Matt Hancock asking him to look at the rules again.

Mr Evans said Devon was missing out on between £30m and £40m, and unitary authority area Plymouth on about £18m.

The Department of Health said most NHS staff were employed on national contracts, which meant they got the same basic pay no matter where they lived.

Hospital sign
BBC

South West Water has 'unacceptable level of performance'

BBC News England

South West Water (SWW) has achieved just two stars out of a possible four for an "unacceptable level of performance", the Environment Agency has said.

The agency's annual report said only one of the nine major water companies in England was performing at the expected level, with most likely to miss 2020 targets.

SWW was also given a red rating for pollution incidents for "consistently demonstrating unacceptable performance".

Trade body Water UK said the report was "disappointing" and the situation was "never black and white".

SWW said it recognised there was "still more to do and we have an action plan in place to continue to drive improvement".

Waste water
Getty Images

SWW provides water and sewerage services to Devon, Cornwall, plus parts of Dorset and Somerset.

Cost of agency staff hits hospitals after increases

Jenny Walrond

Health Correspondent, BBC Spotlight

The cost of agency staff has rocketed at many hospitals in Devon and Cornwall, with levels now far higher than in 2014 and 2015, before measures were first introduced to reduce them.

The big spenders are the Royal Devon & Exeter, which spent just over £11.5m last financial year - its cap was £8.7m.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital spent £9.3m - more than 50% higher than at its original peak - with Torbay and South Devon spending roughly the same.

On the other hand Northern Devon Healthcare and University Hospitals Plymouth both reduced their spend considerably. Unfortunately there was no one available for interview to tell us how they had achieved that.

Royal Cornwall Hospital
BBC

Agency staff use matters because it's more expensive to buy in agency workers than pay for staff and NHS finances are already tight. Agency workers may also be less familiar with the teams they are working in.

Demand for services is rising at a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult to fill jobs, particularly in nursing. Brexit may be making the UK less attractive to some European workers.

The Royal Devon and Exeter Trust said its priority was to maintain safe staffing at all times and that it had taken a series of actions to do this, including national and international recruitment, better conditions for temporary workers and reducing turnover rates.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust also said it was trying to reduce such costs.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital near Truro (pictured) declared a critical incident on Monday because of the large numbers of patients putting the hospital under immense pressure.

School staff strike over pay

BBC Spotlight

Support staff at five Plymouth primary schools in Devon walked out in a dispute over pay on Tuesday.

Woodford Primary is one of the schools involved. It is part of the Plym Academy Trust in Plympton.

The staff said their pay offer is below the level set by the National Joint Council for Local Government Services.

However, the trust said it is in an impossible position after funding cuts.

sign
BBC

Cornwall and Devon weather: Dry and sunny

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

A dry day with plenty of sunshine but some partly cloudy skies developing in the afternoon.

Feeling warm with light winds.

Maximum Temperature: 18 to 24C (64 to 70F).

Weather
BBC

Devon and Cornwall weather: Staying clear and dry

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

Some late sunshine is anticipated on Tuesday evening. Then a dry and largely clear night will follow.

Through the early hours, some patchy mist may form in places. Winds staying light.

Minimum temperature: 9 to 12C (48 to 54F).

Devon and Cornwall weather
BBC

Any early patchy mist on Wednesday will soon lift.

The bulk of the day will then be mostly dry with some sunny spells.There will be an increasing risk of a few showers moving in from the west later on. Light winds.

Maximum temperature: 20 to 23C (68 to 73F).

Fire service should use reserves, union says

BBC Spotlight

The Fire Brigades Union says the Devon and Somerset Fire Service should use some of the £40m held in reserves to avoid making cuts.

A public consultation on plans to close eight fire stations and reduce cover at others is underway.

The proposals would save at least £8m over the next three years.

But managers say reserves shouldn't be used to avoid "difficult savings" which would bring resources into line with reduced risks.

Fire appliance
BBC

Devon and Cornwall weather: Dry but partly cloudy day

BBC Weather

A dry and partly cloudy start to Tuesday, with a few spells of early brightness.

Thereafter, expect a dry and partly cloudy day, with some spells of sunshine, especially later on. Winds will be light.

Maximum Temperature: 20 to 23C (68 to 73F).

Weather map
BBC

Some late sunshine is anticipated. Then a dry and largely clear night will follow.

Through the early hours, some patchy mist may form in places. Winds staying light.

Minimum Temperature: 10 to 14C (50 to 57F).