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  1. Underground cannabis factory raided and £250,000 worth of drugs found
  2. Leyton Orient captain charged by FA over alleged ballboy shove
  3. NHS 111 questions 'disturbing and disrespectful'
  4. Father of newborn baby says his son could have died just days after his birth because of a lack of communication at Royal Cornwall Hospital
  5. South West Water fined for sewage spill
  6. Devon head teachers warn of redundancies and bigger class sizes if a cut of £33 per pupil goes ahead in April
  7. Devon County Council increases council tax by almost 5% to help fund care for the elderly and vulnerable
  8. Poldark's Levant Mine parking fees 'insensitive'
  9. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Lynne French

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage

That's all from BBC Local Live in Devon and Cornwall for today, but we'll be back at 08:00 tomorrow to bring you all Friday's news, sport, travel and weather.

Don't miss Spotlight with Justin and Victoria this evening on BBC One at 18:30 and the late bulletin tonight at 22:30.

Devon County Council raises council tax by nearly 5%

Today councillors in Devon agreed a rise in council tax by 1.99% to a total rate of 4.99%.

"The rise equates to an extra £60.30 a year for the average Band D council taxpayer", the council says. 

The money will be spent on general services such as education, caring for children, roads and economic development.

£18.7 million is expected to be used to boost adult health and social care.

Former soldier denies Exeter murder attempt

Lynne French

BBC News Online

A former soldier has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of a man in Exeter.

Richard Grant, of Drake Close, Cullompton, has admitted having a knife at the time of the attack in Leighton Terrace in January, but he denies using it to inflict  stab wounds to Alexander Pierce's legs, groin, chest and arm.

Appearing at Exeter Crown Court by video link from the city's prison, the 46-year-old denied attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Judge Brian Forster, QC, adjourned the case for a trial in March and remanded the accused in custody.

Shaldon Bridge closed on Friday for maintenance

Rob England

BBC South West

Shaldon Bridge from Torquay to Teignmouth will be closed to all vehicles and pedestrians on Friday 17 February whilst maintenance crews carry out a "trial opening" Devon County Council has said.

In October the council discovered a problem with the mechanical winding gear preventing the bridge being fully opened. By law it has to be able to allow vessels to pass through. 

The alternative route for vehicles will be via Teignmouth Road, B3199, Riviera Way, A380, Torquay Road, Besignheim Way, and vice versa.  

If our repair works have been successful the bridge should be fully operational. We appreciate that this closure will cause some disruption, and we have scheduled the work to take place during the half term break to minimise this.”

Cllr Stuart HughesDevon County Council
Maintenance operations on Shaldon Bridge
Devon County Council

Stabbing suspect refuses to leave cell for court

Lynne French

BBC News Online

A 34-year-old man accused of a double stabbing in Holsworthy has refused to leave his cell to appear at Exeter Crown Court

Philip Richards, formerly of Tower Street, Launceston, was due to appear by video link from Exeter Prison to face two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The case was adjourned and Mr Richards was remanded in custody for a trial later this year.

Liam Kelly

The Football Association charges Leyton Orient's Liam Kelly with violent conduct for a shove on a ball boy.

Read more

Weather: Friday mostly dry

Holly Green

BBC Weather

This evening and tonight will be dry with clear spells and light winds.

Most places should remain frost free but under clear skies, some patchy mist or fog is possible with a minimum temperature of 4C (39F).

Weather map

Once any mist or fog clears, Friday will be another mostly dry day, but turning cloudier and breezier through the day, with the odd spot of light rain possible later and a maximum temperature of 12C (54F).  

Can you help find this Valentine good Samaritan?

Ben Lodge from Falmouth was buying some flowers, steak and chocolate for his wife on Valentine's Day evening, but his payment cards were turned down.

A good samaritan in the queue behind him stepped in to pay for the items so that he wouldn't have to return home empty handed.

Ben left without getting his phone number - do you know who it was? Send us an email.

View more on twitter

'Computer asking the questions' on 111 call

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

The NHS has apologised to a Devon woman who was asked the wrong questions when she dialled the non-emergency service NHS 111. 

Listen to NHS 111 conversation

Michelle Perryman rang for help saying she felt violently ill but said she was frustrated by the service which asked about 40 questions over a 10 minute call. 

The non-emergency service call handler repeatedly tells Mrs Perryman: "The computer is asking the questions." 

South West Ambulance, which lost the service in 2016 after a damning report, said the the call handler selected the wrong "pathway". 

News headlines for Devon and Cornwall

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Missing man sparks concern

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Concern is growing for a 70-year-old man from Exeter who is missing.

Brian Scott, who suffers from dementia, was last seen about 11:30 GMT as his home in the Parkway area of the city.

Brian Scott
Devon and Cornwall Police

He is described as being about 5ft 8in (1.73m) tall, with grey hair and a white beard. Mr Scott was wearing a striped burgundy and grey knitted jumper and grey jogging bottoms and slippers.

M5 delays: 'Significant oil spill' after lorries crash

View more on twitter

Highways England said there was a "significant hydraulic oil spillage in lane one of the northbound carriageway between junction 23 near Bridgwater and junction 22 following a collision involving two HGVs". The lane will remain closed for repair work to take place.

Christian Morgan, operations manager, said: “Lane one will require extensive resurfacing work because it has been damaged following the spillage. We’re working hard to get the lane open as quickly as possible and we’d like to thank motorists for their patience while this takes place.” 

Fix it - don't bin it! Repair cafe opening in Exeter

Clare Woodling

BBC Spotlight

A cafe with a difference is opening in Exeter, aimed at teaching customers how to repair and transform items, such as faulty lawnmowers, broken lamps, torn clothes or anything that would otherwise end up being thrown away.

St Sidwell's repair cafe

Organiser June Dimuantes said people can bring "anything they can carry that needs fixing" to the repair cafe at St Sidwell's Community Centre.

"We want to stop six million items a year going into landfill," she said.

Exeter could be generating most of its own electricity by 2025

Exeter Express & Echo

Exeter could be generating most of its own energy within a decade, according to an Energy Independence report due to be published today by Exeter City Futures, which sets out 10 key recommendations to help reduce energy consumption and boost clean energy generation across Exeter and its travel-to-work area.

NHS 111 service apologises for 'wrong' questions being asked

Andrea Ormsby

BBC Spotlight

An unwell woman who was asked the "wrong" questions by an NHS 111 call handler has received an apology for the distress it caused.

Michelle Perryman from Devon says she was asked "disturbing" questions and was treated disrespectfully by the call handler, who at one point during the call, was heard to laugh. 

She also says she's "disgusted" at having to wait for a year for the apology.

Ambulance trust letter

The South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust, which ran the service at the time, said it was sorry for the distress Ms Perryman experienced as a result of the call in July 2015.

It said the reason for the delay was further information and identification was required from her to progress the complaint.

News headlines for Devon and Cornwall

Lynne French

BBC News Online

  • NHS 111 apology and goodwill payment over "wrong" questions for patient
  • The National Trust is replacing a car park pay machine vandalised at Levant Mine
  • South West Water is fined £175,000 for a sewage spill in the Truro River
  • An underground cannabis factory is raided and drugs worth £250,000 seized
  • Head teachers in Devon say a cut in budgets could mean larger classrooms and job losses
  • Devon County Council could increase council tax by almost 5% to pay for elderly and vulnerable care

Bodmin assault: Man 'has fracture to cheek and cut lip'

A man has a potential fracture to his cheek and a cut to his lip after an assault in Bodmin, police have said.

A person approached the victim from behind on Lower Bore Street at about 15:15 on 7 February, officers said.

Devon and Cornwall Police are appealing for witnesses.

18 cases of scarlet fever in the South West last week

Exeter Express & Echo

Scarlet fever ranked higher in the list of reported infectious diseases than measles or food poisoning over the last week.

Weather: Generally dry and mild

BBC Weather

The rest of today will be largely dry with sunny spells and light winds making it feel pleasantly mild for the time of year, with a maximum temperature of 12C (54F).

Weather map

A dry night will follow with clear spells and light winds. 

Most places should remain frost free but under clear skies, some patchy mist or fog is possible and a minimum temperature of 4C (39F).

Travel update: A30 lane closure

BBC Travel

  • Slow traffic in both directions of the A30 in Cornwall between Temple and Millpool with a lane closure and 40mph speed restriction for roadworks
  • On the A38 in Devon near Chudleigh at Harcombe Bends traffic is slow moving due to an earlier broken down vehicle
  • Millbay Road in Plymouth is closed at the junction of Martin Street for emergency repairwork

Shellfish beds were at risk from sewage spill

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

South West Water has been fined for a sewage spill that risked damaging shellfish beds in the Truro River.

South West Water pleaded guilty to causing the spill at the Newham sewage treatment works on 26 August 2013, and have been fined £175,000 at Truro Crown Court.

The company has also been fined £10,000 for failing to maintain a faulty tank valve and ordered to pay £20,000 of costs.

Truro River

The Environment Agency said: "It is essential that large sewage works bordering estuaries with conservation designations and also containing shellfish beds are operated and inspected to a high standard to prevent such unpermitted sewage spills posing risks to public health and aquatic life."

South West Water said the sewage was "screened and settled" and had a "minimal impact" on water quality.

Exeter man hurt in 'hit-and-run'

Lynne French

BBC News Online

A man is being treated in hospital after being hit by a car in Exeter which failed to stop, police tell the BBC.

Officers said the 50-year-old victim was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital after the incident in Whipton Barton Road on Tuesday.

Police are trying to trace the diver of a small orange car which is likely to have a damaged windscreen and have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.

'Local intelligence' led to underground cannabis factory raid

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Drugs with a street value of about £250,000 were seized from a purpose-build underground factory in north Devon last week, the police have revealed.

The force said the raid on a farm north of Okehampton was carried out as a result of "local intelligence". It added a 37-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of producing a class-B drug.

Drugs factory, north Devon
Devon and Cornwall Police

Det Insp Phil Gray said: “We will continue to target those criminals that choose to target the vulnerable in our society and make money from them through drugs.”

Cannabis plants
Devon and Cornwall Police

South West Water fined for sewage spill

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

South West Water will have to pay more than £200,000 after pleading guilty to spilling raw sewage into a river near Truro.

At Truro Crown Court they were fined £175,000 for the spill, £10,000 for failing to maintain a faulty tank valve and ordered to pay £20,000 of costs.

Sewage Treatment works

It happened at the Newham Sewage Treatment Works on 26 August 2013 and threatened to damage shellfish beds downstream in the Truro River.

South West Water stressed the sewage was "screened and settled", adding "the discharge had a minimal impact on the receiving water quality and the event took place outside the oyster harvesting season."

Vital Torbay bus routes 'threatened with the axe' could be saved

Torquay Herald Express

Talks are under way to save vital bus routes throughout Torbay.

Drugs seized from underground cannabis factory

Police have seized about £250,000 worth of cannabis in North Devon.

View more on twitter

Det Insp Phil Gray said: “This is yet another positive example of where police have intercepted and prevented a large amount of illegal drugs entering the public domain, off the back of local community intelligence."

Travel update: Accident closes two lanes of M5 in Somerset

BBC Travel

  • If you're leaving Devon this lunchtime, traffic is queueing on the M5 northbound between Bridgwater North and Burnham-on-sea, with two lanes closed by an accident
  • On the A394 Marazion bypass, there are temporary traffic lights for bridge maintenance work  
  • Slow traffic in Cornwall on the A39 in Stratton near the A3072 Stratton Road, with temporary traffic lights for roadworks
  • The A38 westbound in the Glynn Valley in Cornwall is closed for roadworks between the Trago Mills superstore and the Halfway House, with the A390 diversion route busy  
  • In Plymouth on Citadel Road at Lockyer Street there are reports of an accident  

Vandalised parking machine to be replaced at Poldark filming site

Hannah Stacey

BBC Radio Cornwall

A vandalised car parking pay machine will be replaced at a Poldark filming site in Cornwall.

The original machine was wrenched out the ground at Levant Mine within a week of it being installed.

Poldark scene

The site - used in the first series of the historical television drama - is where 31 men died in a mining tragedy nearly 100 years ago and visitor numbers have increased by 50% since it was first broadcast in March 2015.

Despite local opposition to the introduction of charges, the National Trust will replace the machine, insisting the money raised will help preserve the important area.

Vandalised machine
Ian Cooke

Well known Exeter homeless man badly injured in hit and run

Exeter Express & Echo

A well-known Exeter man is recovering in hospital after being the victim of a hit and run.

Newquay man sought for breaching sex offenders order

Police are searching for a 20-year-old man from Cornwall who has breached a sex offenders order.

Tony Falcus from Newquay, who's not considered to be a direct threat to the public, was placed on the sex offenders register in 2014.

Tony Falcus
Devon and Cornwall Police

He's described as 5ft 7in (1.7m) tall, of medium build, with blues eyes, short dark brown hair and a Westcountry accent.  

Anyone with information about his whereabouts, is asked to contact Devon and Cornwall Police.

The six new laws about to come into force and how they affect you

Plymouth Herald

New legislation is coming into force covering wages, car tax and child care.

Father slams hospital over baby's heart concerns

BBC Radio Cornwall

The father of a newborn baby says his son could have died just days after his birth because of a lack of communication at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. 

Robert Stevenson, from Redruth, says despite telling the hospital of his family's history of heart problems, his child was discharged from hospital, without having his heart monitored and developed breathing difficulties a few days later.

Newborn baby

Mary Baulch, the Lead Children's Nurse, said the hospital was sorry to hear of the family's concerns and would need to look at the issues raised "in more detail".

"We will talk further to the family about their experience and any support they need," she added.

Severe disruption: M5 Devon southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon southbound severe disruption, between J27 for A361 and J28 for A373.

M5 Devon - Slow traffic and one lane closed on M5 southbound between J27, A361 (Tiverton) and J28, A373 (Cullompton), because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Head teachers warn of redundancies and bigger class sizes if cuts go ahead

BBC Radio Devon

Head teachers in Devon say planned budget cuts of £33 per pupil could lead to teacher redundancies and bigger class sizes.

Conservative-run Devon County Council is proposing to take £2m from the schools' budget to plug a gap in funding for special needs children.

Primary school classroom

The opposition Lib Dems say the money should be taken from reserves - so schools don't miss out.   

Tide times around the coast of Devon and Cornwall

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

If you're thinking of heading to the beach today, here are the important times of high water around the region's coastline.

Tide times

Join me for a full weather forecast in Spotlight's lunchtime news on BBC One at 13:30.

Trust insists Levant car park charges will protect Poldark filming site

Hannah Stacey

BBC Radio Cornwall

Car parking charges will be introduced at a Poldark filming site, despite a pay machine being vandalised within a week of it being installed, the National Trust says.

Levant Mine, which was used in the first series of the popular BBC drama, is the site of a mining tragedy, where 31 men lost their lives in 1919.

Levant car park machine

The trust says despite feelings running high over the charges, they will be used to help maintain the site.

"We know people still come to pay their respects, those that descend from the miners that lost their lives, and we don't want to prevent that from happening in any way," Ian Marsh, from the National Trust, said.

Fog scuppers Land's End flights

BBC Travel

Land's End flights are currently on hold due to fog. 

The first Newquay flight is expected to be slightly delayed.