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  1. Updates on Wednesday 11 May 2016
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Wednesday's live coverage

Live updates for Devon and Cornwall have finished for the day, but we'll be back at 08:00 on Thursday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Church panels thief 'the most prolific for some time'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Police have welcomed the jailing of a "prolific" thief who stole items from churches across England and Wales, including two 15th Century oak panels from a church in Devon.

Holy Trinity Church

Christopher Cooper, 48, from Trallong, Brecon, was jailed at Hereford Crown Court for three years and eight months for theft, fraud and dealing in tainted antiquities. The thefts included decorative panels hacked out of Holy Trinity Church at Torbryan in 2013 (above). They were recovered last year.

Insp Andrew Bennett, from West Mercia Police, said "whole communities" had been affected by the thefts, adding: "Christopher Cooper is one of the most prolific church thieves that we have seen in this country for some time."  

Cornish Pirates lock Marcus Garratt joins Wasps

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Cornish Pirates lock Marcus Garratt has signed for Premiership semi-finalists Wasps.

Marcus Garratt
Brian Tempest

The 21-year-old spent two seasons at The Mennaye Field and made 20 senior appearances last season.  

Garratt was born in Devon and has also played for Exeter Chiefs academy and Exmouth in the past.

Latest weather: Muggy and misty overnight, brighter on Thursday

David Braine, Weather Forecaster

It will be muggy and misty overnight, with perhaps the odd clearer spell developing inland. Occasional showers will pass through around dawn. Minimum temperature: 11C (52F).

BBC weather graphic

Thursday will be a drier and brighter day, with some sunny spells, especially during the afternoon. Occasional showers will also be possible with the risk of thunder. Maximum temperature: 21C (70F).

Business leader says leaving EU 'not a great thing'

BBC Radio Cornwall

The chief executive of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce says he can't see how leaving the EU will benefit businesses in the county.

His comments came after Boris Johnson came to Truro to launch the Vote Leave campaign in his battle bus. Mr Johnson said people in the county would be better off if Britain votes to leave the EU. 

Kim Conchie said: "I just don't get that cutting off our markets would be a great thing. In our survey last year... 82% of chamber members who responded said they thought leaving Europe would be a bad thing, and only 3% said it would be a good thing."

Royal Navy shadows Russian ship from Baltic to Britain

Press Association

Two Royal Navy ships have escorted a Russian frigate from the Baltic Sea to the English Channel as part of the UK's commitment to reassurance at home and in Eastern Europe. 

The Portsmouth-based frigate HMS Iron Duke, operating with a NATO task group, began tracking the Admiral Grigorovich through the Baltic Sea at the end of last week. 

She handed over to the Plymouth-based frigate HMS Sutherland, which escorted the ship down from the North Sea off Denmark through the Dover Straits and into the Channel. 

Latest travel for Devon and Cornwall

BBC Travel

- There is slow traffic on the A38 Haldon Hill after an earlier incident, although all lanes have now reopened

- A broken down bus in the roadworks area at Threemilestone is causing problems on the A390 

- In Plymouth, the A374 outbound is partially blocked on Exeter Street after an incident near Tothill Road  

- There are reports of an accident in Exeter on the B3183 Sidmouth Road 

Latest headlines for Devon and Cornwall

Claire Hawke

BBC Local Live

- The Prime Minister is refusing to intervene in an investigation involving Devon and Cornwall Police's new crime commissioner

- An inquest into a man's death is told the police communication system is being upgraded after an investigation by Independent Police Complaints Commission

- The Conservative MP and former Mayor of London Boris Johnson has told the BBC that any government would be "out of its mind" not to keep supporting Cornwall financially if the British people vote to leave the EU 

- Two Royal Navy ships - including Devonport-based HMS Sutherland - have escorted a Russian frigate to the English channel as part of protection efforts for UK waters

Police communication system to be upgraded after investigation into man's death

BBC Radio Cornwall

An inquest has heard that Devon and Cornwall Police's communication system is in the process of being upgraded, after recommendations following the death of a man found collapsed in Bodmin.

Christopher Rothwell, who had mental health problems. died after delays in calling out an ambulance. Several witnesses who saw him, including an off-duty paramedic, called the police, but there was an eight minute delay in an ambulance being called.

David Jones from the Independent Police Complaints Commission told the inquest that after their investigation, they advised the force about problems with its control room comms. The force said the 'slowness' in the system had been resolved and a full upgrade would take place in July. 

The inquest continues.

Prime Minister faces calls to intervene over Devon and Cornwall's new police commissioner

BBC Parliament

Freeview channel 131

The investigation facing Devon and Cornwall Police's new crime commissioner has been raised in the House of Commons. 

David Cameron was urged to intervene from the leader of the Scottish nationalists at Westminister, Angus Robertson.

But the Prime Minister defended the role of police forces, saying: "The Electoral Commission is independent, and when it comes to operational decisions by a police force they are independent too, and long may that be the case. That's the hallmark of an uncorrupt country."

Teenager denies hoax bomb threats against US airlines

Jonathan Morris, BBC News Online

A 16-year-old boy has denied making hoax bomb threats against two US airlines via Twitter. 

The boy, who cannot be named, also denied three cyber attacks on websites around the world. The teenager, from Plympton near Plymouth, has been bailed by Plymouth Youth Court and will appear before a district judge due to the "complexity" of the case, said magistrates. 

He denies two offences under Section 51 of the Criminal Law Act and three offences under Section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act which relate to denial of service attacks on websites at locations in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

New provider of non-emergency patient transport

BBC Radio Cornwall

A new organisation is taking over non-emergency patient transport in Cornwall.

E-zec Medical Transport will operate the service which takes patients from their homes to hospitals or clinics. The contract will run from the end of this month until September 2018. 

The service is currently operated by NSL, which has struggled to meet targets for collecting patients on time.

Care homes ordered to improve by watchdog

Torquay Herald Express

Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission has ordered two Torquay care homes to improve following recent inspections.

Now and then: Penzance's Beachfield Hotel

School writes support song for Ecuador earthquake victims

BBC Spotlight

Families affected by last months devastating earthquake in Ecuador have been sent an emotional message by students from a school in Sidmouth.

St John's students

St John's has a close link with a sister school there, and staff and pupils have recorded a specially written song in English and Spanish to show their support.

Now and then: Penzance railway station

Call for donkey rides to return to Paignton

BBC Radio Devon

Donkey rides could return to Paignton this summer. 

A few weeks ago, the traditional attraction, which has been on Paignton Green for years, lost out to a trampoline operator. 

Now a senior councillor is putting a motion before a meeting of Torbay Council today asking it to find an alternative site.

Reality check on Boris' £350m battle-bus figure

Isles of Scilly re-elects council chairman

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

Amanda Martin and Steve Sims have been re-elected as chairman and vice-chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly.

Amanda Martin

The website reports Mrs Martin stood unopposed while Mr Sims held off a challenge from former vice-chairman Gaz O’Neil at last night’s annual meeting of the full council.  

Rain warning for Devon

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for rain affecting Devon later today.

View more on twitter

Man arrested in Totnes after armed police deployed

BBC Radio Devon

A man has been arrested in Totnes after armed police were deployed in the town. 

Devon and Cornwall Police said the Warwickshire constabulary contacted them to assist with an arrest of a man who was "alleged to have made threats to kill" and may have been in possession of a firearm.

The suspect handed himself in to police and was taken to Warwickshire. Armed officers "were deployed as a precaution, to ensure the safety of officers and the public", the force said.

St Day pharmacy plans approved

BBC Radio Cornwall

NHS bosses have approved an application to open a Day Lewis Pharmacy in St Day.

At the moment, patients collect their medicines from their local GP, and doctors in the area had warned one surgery could be forced to close and patient services at four others could suffer if the plans for the national chain were approved.

The NHS Litigation Authority said the new pharmacy would benefit local people.

Torquay put keeper Brendan Moore top of wanted list

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Torquay United player-manager Kevin Nicholson says goalkeeper Brendan Moore tops his list of players he would like to sign for next season.

Brendan Moore
Rex Features

The 24-year-old American joined the National League side on loan from Fleetwood in March, playing 12 league games.  

"Brendan is my number one choice at the moment to get back in," Nicholson told BBC Sport. "I'll work as best I can to get Brendan back in - he enjoyed it here and I think he's keen, he's just having a look to see what else is out there."

CCTV changes 'could save council money'

BBC Radio Devon

It's hoped changes to how CCTV cameras in Barnstaple and Ilfracombe operate could help save North Devon Council money. 

The authority said it cost more than £200,000 a year to run the service at the moment and it was looking at how to streamline it. 

People have until the end of the month to comment on the proposals, which include ending 24-hour monitoring of the cameras.

Boris Johnson's EU battle bus 'made in Germany'

Latest weather: Mainly cloudy with heavy rain possible in the east

BBC Weather

A cloudy afternoon, with mist and fog patches persisting around the coast and moors, but there will also be some bright or sunny spells. The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for heavy rain for the extreme east of Cornwall and all of Devon for this afternoon and this evening. Winds will be light. Maximum temperature: 15C (59F).


Isolated showers during the evening until late in the night, when we will see some more rain spreading in from the east. It will be another mild and murky night with mist, coastal and hill fog. Winds be light and mainly north easterly. Minimum temperature: 11C (52F).

More than 100 people still on run in Devon and Cornwall after skipping bail

BBC Spotlight

Devon and Cornwall Police failed to catch one in five suspected and convicted criminals who went on the run, according to figures obtained by the BBC.


Over a 12-month period, there were nearly 1,500 arrest warrants issued for suspects who'd skipped bail. Just under 1,200 - or 80% - of those were sucessfully executed, leaving the remaining 20% at large.

Currently the force has 107 outstanding warrants. It said its record was better than others, and that there were robust processes in place to investigate people who were wanted on warrant.

Queen calls Chinese officials 'very rude'

Janet Kipling

BBC Radio Devon

We're debating the big stories of the day.

The Queen's been caught on camera saying Chinese officials were "very rude". But is this refreshing or unprofessional? 

Call today's phone-in on 0345 3011034

Latest headlines for Devon and Cornwall

Claire Hawke

BBC Local Live

- Boris Johnson is promising Cornwall would be better off, if Britain votes to leave the European Union in June's referendum, but his critics say leaving trade agreements would ultimately harm business 

- Devon and Cornwall Police failed to catch one in five suspected and convicted criminals who went on the run, according to figures obtained by the BBC 

- A body found in a car near Plymouth city centre has been confirmed as that of a 44-year-old local man, police say

- The future of the Campaign for Real Ale is up for discussion in Exeter tonight as part of a strategic review of the organisation's purpose and structure 

French skipper 'incredibly proud' to win Transat Race

Election expenses investigation police commissioner 'has nothing to hide'

BBC Radio Devon

Devon and Cornwall's new police commissioner says she has not been contacted by any officials regarding election expenses inquiry.

Conservative Alison Hernandez is being investigated by police over her role in signing off election expenses in last year's General Election. She denies any wrongdoing.

Alison Hernandez

Speaking on BBC Radio Devon, she said: "I have still, at no point, been approached by any agency, organisation or person investigating an expenses issue. So I am here, willing to assist, if anybody wants to ask me this because they are investigating. I will talk with them because I have nothing to hide and I've done nothing wrong."

The EU referendum: We hear in and out arguments

Laurence Reed

BBC Radio Cornwall

Boris Johnston is in Cornwall today, drumming up support for the EU Out vote.

We'll be talking to business leaders determined we should stay in.

Call in on 01872 222222.

Boris visits brewery on battle bus tour of Cornwall

Plymouth body in car confirmed as local man's

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A man whose body was found in a car near Plymouth city centre has been confirmed as a 44-year-old local, police say.

Plymouth body find scene

The body was found by member of the public in the back seat of a Nissan Juke near The Swallow pub at about 14:10 on Tuesday. A dog was found in the front seat of the car and was being looked after by friends or family of the deceased, the force said.

Officers said the death was being "treated as unexplained" and a post-mortem examination was to be carried out to determine the cause. The deceased man’s next of kin have been informed. Police have appealed for witnesses.

Consultation over A30 link road

St Austell Voice

Residents will be given the chance to share their “ten pence worth” on the proposed link road between St Austell and the A30 from tomorrow.  

David Gabbitass named Plymouth Albion president

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Plymouth Albion have named David Gabbitass as the club's president for the second time.

He previously held the position at the National One side between 1986 and 1991, and is also the vice chairman of Somerset Cricket Club.

Getty Images

“I see my role as acting as mentor to the new board as they work to get Plymouth Albion back onto its feet," Gabbitass said. “There has to be a period of consolidation at Brickfields before the club can once again start to become aspirational."  

Boris Johnson's unfortunate photo opportunity

New police commissioner wants 'to get on with the job'

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

The new Devon and Cornwall police and crime commissioner says she intends to get on with the job and do her best for people in both counties.

Alison Hernandez

Conservative Alison Hernandez is due to have handover talks with her predecessor, Tony Hogg, later. However, she is being investigated by police over her role in signing off election expenses in last year's General Election. 

Critics said she shouldn't have been sworn in. She denies any wrongdoing and wants to focus on reviewing police station closures, cutting waiting times for the police's non-emergency 101 number, and supporting victims of crime.

Police confirm man found dead in car was 44-year-old

Plymouth Herald

Police have not yet named the man found dead in a car parked in Bretonside yesterday afternoon but they have confirmed he was a 44-year-old from the Plymouth area.