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  1. Former Jackanory storyteller, 87, admits sex assaults on boy
  2. Cornwall's main hospital reports 100 delayed discharges a day
  3. Increase in lifeboat call-outs, with 52 lives saved in the South West last year
  4. Cornwall birthing unit closing to overnight stays
  5. There's been a rise in animal cruelty cases investigated by the RSPCA in the South West
  6. Updates on Wednesday 29 March

Live Reporting

By Johnny O'Shea

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Our live coverage across the day 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.

Don't forget  Spotlight on BBC One  later. There will also be news through the night on your BBC Local Radio station.

Paws for thought: Will Bacchus and top dog Aston show their agility

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

We promised you earlier some video of 11-year-old Cornish boy and dog agility top contender Will Bacchus in action with his best friend, Aston.

Here it is.

Latest weather: Occasionally heavy rain

Holly Green

BBC Weather

Remaining cloudy tonight with outbreaks of rain and drizzle continuing to spread further east. The rain is likely to be occasionally heavy, while south or southwesterly winds will continue to be stronger around the coast and over high ground. Minimum temperature: 11C (F).


Some outbreaks of rain are likely on Thursday, mainly towards the north coast and the west of Cornwall at times. However many parts will stay largely dry. A breezy but warm day, especially in any brighter breaks. Maximum temperature: 17C (63F).

Bright side of the domes: Van's the man for Eden

BBC Radio Cornwall

Van Morrison is the latest artist announced for this summer’s Eden Sessions.

The Belfast-born musician will perform in front of the biomes on 1 July.

Van Morrison
Exile Productions

Eden marketing director Rita Broe said: "We are so honoured to be welcoming a virtuoso singer-songwriter whose pure original genius has taken him from east Belfast to global superstardom."

Fishermen thrown a lifeline

BBC Radio Cornwall

Fishermen in Cornwall are being offered free health checks in their local ports.

It's been arranged by an NHS Health Check outreach team, which is targeting groups of men who traditionally don't regularly monitor their health.

The check itself takes 20-30 minutes and includes a discussion of results and any steps which can be taken, for instance, to reduce cholesterol or blood pressure.


Keith Dickson, senior superintendent for Fisherman’s Mission South West, said: "These checks, carried out on the harbourside, offers an opportunity for crews to drop in and have their health checked, something they probably have not done in years."

A third of hospital medical beds blocked

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

The Royal Cornwall Hospital says its Emergency Department (ED) is full and it has 100 patients who need to be discharged but can't because care packages have not been put in place. 

The hospital is advising to people to use GP, minor injury and pharmacy services instead of the ED. 

ED Clinical Director Toby Slade said admissions were up 10% year-on-year. 

Royal Cornwall Hospital

He told BBC Radio Cornwall: "The number of patients that are awaiting discharge home accounts for about a third of our medical bed base. 

"So, a third of our medical beds that would be available for incoming patients are currently occupied by patients who are awaiting further packages of care, and care out in community hospitals."

Jam on first?! Police wade into cream tea debate

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The tradition in Devon is to put cream on the scone followed by jam, while the Cornish do it the other way around.

Don't get them mixed up, like then Prime Minister David Cameron did in a cafe in Barnstaple in Devon in 2015 . He was soon corrected by the staff.

We just hope Sgt Hepworth isn't inadvertently about to cause a row!

Lelant road changes to begin

BBC Radio Cornwall

Works to widen the road at Nut Lane in Lelant will be taking place from Monday 3 April.

Cornwall Council said works would take place at night between 19:00 and 06:00 when temporary traffic lights would be in operation for outbound traffic. Inbound traffic will be diverted along Griggs Quay, it added. 

The work is expected to be completed by Thursday 13 April.  

Lelant map

The council said it would monitor traffic in Lelant and the use of two lanes would "help reduce traffic flow issues and will not have a detrimental impact on the main A30."

Covert police bus campaign catches 100 people

A campaign where police officers travelled covertly in double decker buses to observe drivers breaking the law is being hailed a success.

Devon and Cornwall Police said more than 100 people were found to be in breach of one or more of potentially fatal five driving offences, including: mobile phone use, not wearing a seat belt, excessive speed, careless driving and drink or drug-driving.

Police on bus

Officers said people were also stopped for having no insurance or MoT, driving other than in accordance with their licence, and having incorrect registration during the operation on 24 and 25 March.

Marine A: 'Huge lessons' to learn from Alexander Blackman case


The wife of Alexander Blackman, the Royal Marine who shot dead a wounded Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, says there are " huge lessons " to learn from her husband's case.

Blackman, of Taunton, Somerset, had his sentence cut to seven years  after his  murder conviction was reduced to manslaughter . The 42-year-old, who was based in Plymouth, was convicted of murder in November 2013 after the shooting in 2011.

Claire Blackman. Pic: PA

His wife, Claire Blackman, told BBC Radio 4's  Today programme : "He has never denied that his actions on that day were caused by a serious lack of judgement, which we now know to be due to a combat stress disorder."

She said there were lessons to learn from the case - from the court martial process to the way servicemen and women are supported in "particularly stressful circumstances".

"I feel my husband had very little support out on the ground and that was certainly something that was discussed at length by the courts," she said.

Local reaction to Article 50: Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter

BBC Radio Devon

The formal go-ahead for the UK to leave the European Union has happened. 

At lunchtime, Theresa May triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty , nine months after the British people voted to quit. It'll pave the way for two years of negotiation before departure from the EU.

Ben Bradshaw

Exeter's Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw, was a remain campaigner.

He said: "I feel very strongly that in 18 months, two years' time - when the reality of the hard Brexit Mrs May and the Tory right are actively pursuing begins to impact on people's living standards, on their jobs, on our prosperity in the west country and across the United Kingdom - you have to allow the public the right to change their mind."

Dartmoor parking warning

BBC Radio Devon

People driving to Dartmoor are being asked to be aware of where they park their cars.

Many places in the national park have limited parking, and some destinations are tucked away down narrow lanes.


Drivers are being asked not to park on narrow roads, blocking gateways or opposite gateways.

Emergency vehicles needed access at all times, and large farm vehicles often needed to negotiate the lanes, the park authority said.

Former Jackanory storyteller, 87, admits sex assaults on boy

BBC Radio Devon

A former children's television presenter and Jackanory storyteller has admitted sexually assaulting a boy almost 60 years ago.

John Earle
Irving of Exeter

John Earle was a teacher at a school in Okehampton, Devon, when he carried out the assaults between 1957 and 1961, Exeter Crown Court heard.

Earle narrated two stories on children's television programme Jackanory during the show's heyday in 1971.

The 87-year-old, of Upton Pyne, near Exeter, admitted six counts of indecently the same boy when he was aged nine to 13 between September 1957 and August 1961. The case was adjourned for medical reports before sentencing.

Wedlake signs new Albion contract

James Law

BBC Sport Online

Cornwall winger Robin Wedlake has signed a new one-year contract at Plymouth Albion, keeping him at Brickfields until the end of next season.

The 22-year-old follows in the footsteps of flanker George Mills, who agreed a new deal with the National One club yesterday.

Robin Wedlake
Rex Features

"Previously the club’s possibly been held back by one thing or another, and it truly feels as if there’s nothing stopping the club from developing and building on the foundations of this year," Wedlake said.

Flybe fined for sending 3.3m unwanted emails

BBC News Technology

Exeter-based airline Flybe has been fined £70,000 for sending more than 3.3m marketing emails to people who had opted out of receiving them.

Flybe plane

The emails, sent in August 2016, advised people to amend out-of-date personal information and update their marketing preferences. They also gave people the chance to enter a prize draw.

But the regulator said Flybe  should have obtained people's consent  before sending the emails.

"Sending emails to determine whether people want to receive marketing, without the right consent, is still marketing, and it is against the law," said Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the Information Commissioner's Office.

Driver caught 'with 35 points on licence'

Woman describes 'pandemonium' and 'abuse' at A&E

Laurence Reed

BBC Radio Cornwall

A woman has described the Emergency Department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro as "pandemonium" after spending the night there with her daughter.

Claire Dawson (pictured), from St Dennis, said she witnessed a nurse being abused by a man who was being discharged at about 03:00.

She told me: "It was pandemonium. They were coming through as fast as they could find a bed or a nook and cranny for them.

"He jumped off the bed, from looking very sick, and started hurling abuse at one of the nurses. He was very derogatory to her. She asked him to leave several times, people stepped in and he was made aware that security was on their way and he needed to leave. 

Claire Dawson

"He walked down the corridor, past the sick people, hurling abuse at them. I witnessed the nurse running back up the corridor, breaking her heart. The poor maid had done nothing wrong.

"She was physically shaken and I don't think anybody should be subjected to that. She was in her workplace. She'd done her job.The abuse that poor lady took, I honesty think that the hospital need to give her a pat on the back. It was really upsetting, there were people crying."

The hospital told us earlier today it had been under huge pressure in recent weeks and months, and had 100 delayed discharges a day.

Devon's Festival of Remembrance cancelled for 2017

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

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The festival, held in November, was previously described by the legion as a "well established and popular event that combines ceremony, pageantry, reflection, remembrance and entertainment in a 180 minute stage performance".

Local reaction to Article 50: Molly Scott Cato, MEP

BBC Radio Cornwall

The formal go-ahead for the UK to leave the European Union has happened - and the debate is turning to what type of Brexit we will get. The triggering of Article 50 this lunchtime paves the way for two years of negotiations before departure. 

Molly Scott Cato is a Green Party MEP for the South West who campaigned to remain in the EU.

Molly Scott Cato

She said: "The risk is that if the Prime Minister goes off and makes a trade deal with Mr Trump's America, or with some other countries in the world, what we'll be seeing is poor quality imports of food, and that will really put pressure on our farmers.

"So I really think we have to resist those type of trade deals and, instead, focus on building resilience in our country, and providing more for our own needs and producing more high-skilled jobs at home."

Man charged after weapon reported in animal hospital car park

A 21-year-old man from Plymouth has been charged with threatening a person with an offensive weapon in a public place and affray, police say. 

He was arrested after reports of a man brandishing a weapon in the car park of a Plymouth animal hospital on Tuesday.

The man appeared at Plymouth Magistrates' Court earlier.

Water supply problems in Newton Abbot

Police find man's body in river

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

Devon and Cornwall Police have found the body of a man in a river near Crediton.

Officers said it was found during a search for 70-year-old Peter Giles, who has been missing since 8 March.

Police said the body was found in the River Creedy in Newton St Cyres on 24 March. No formal identification has taken place but Mr Giles' next of kin have been told. 

The death is not being treated as suspicious.

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Back to school for double Olympic Gold winner Helen Glover

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The Penzance-raised Olympic rower won the women's pair at Rio 2016 with partner Heather Stanning, defending the title they won at London 2012.

Marine A: Alexander Blackman 'to get police protection'

The Times

A former Royal Marine convicted of deliberately killing a wounded Taliban fighter will receive police protection from potential terrorist attack when he is released from prison next month.

Penrice birthing unit closing to overnight stays

BBC Radio Cornwall

The only full-time midwife-led specialist birthing unit in Cornwall will no longer be open 24 hours a day.

The Penrice Birth Centre in St Austell will remain open between 08:00 and 20:00, but only on request for labouring women between 20:00 and 08:00.

This means women will not be able to stay at the unit overnight from 7 May unless in labour.

Maternity room

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust said the change was being made because of a lack of demand and a shortage of midwives. 

It said: "We have made the decision following discussion with the midwives at Penrice, the Royal College of Midwives and NHS Kernow. Penrice will now function like the birth centres in Helston and the Isles of Scilly, with an equitable model of service provision across the region." 

If I'd a pound for every new pound coin I've seen!

Japan turns to Basil Fawlty in race for Olympic English

BBC Business News

Japan is struggling to make sure it has enough proficient English speakers when it hosts the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

And the classic BBC Torquay-set comedy series Fawlty Towers is being deployed by some teachers in an attempt to give Japanese students an example of spoken English - rather than focusing on written language and grammar.

Basil Fawlty

Japan's government and businesses want to use the Olympics to boost tourism and global trade and to present a positive image of Japan to the world.

So the government needs to ensure a supply of English speakers to be Olympic volunteers and work in the accommodation, tourism, and retail industries.

There is also a demand for professionals, such as doctors and nurses, to speak to visitors or competitors in English. 

Pavey set to be upgraded to world bronze medal

BBC Sport

Exeter's Jo Pavey is finally set to receive a bronze medal from 2007 World Championships after Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse had her results voided.

The IAAF released the latest list of athletes sanctioned for a doping offence which included silver-medallist Abeylegesse, who returned a positive sample for an in-competition test during the competition in Osaka, Japan.

Jo Pavey
Getty Images

It would arguably be Pavey's greatest achievement if she is officially given the medal, while American Kara Goucher is set to be upgraded to silver position.

Witness appeal after Dartmouth road crash

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Police in Kingsbridge have appealed for witnesses to a road crash in Dartmouth.

Posting on  Facebook , officers said the incident occurred on Saturday 25 March at about 17:00 on Victoria Road, "near to the finish line of The Delicious Dart trail charity event".

Coma mum has a new baby and a new liver

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

New mum Deanne Harry cannot remember giving birth to her baby daughter and was in a coma for two-and-a-half weeks.

Deanne, 35, from Devon, almost died after developing a rare liver and blood clotting disorder within hours of a ­Caesarean section.

She needed an emergency liver ­transplant and was put into an induced coma.

The doctors told her husband that she might not make it, but, three months on, Deanne and baby Freya are healthy and happy.

Royal Marine Alexander Blackman 'always regretted actions', wife says


Former Royal Marine Alexander Blackman has "always regretted his actions" in shooting dead a wounded Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, his wife has said .

Claire Blackman, of Taunton, Somerset, told the BBC that if her husband could turn back the clock and change events of 2011, "he would do in a heartbeat".

Alexander Blackman. Pic: PA

The marine's sentence has been  cut to seven years  after his  murder conviction was reduced to manslaughter . From jail,  he told the Daily Mail he felt a "profound sense of relief" .

Blackman, 42, who was initially known as Marine A in court proceedings and had been based in Plymouth, was convicted of murder in November 2013.

It is likely he will be released soon because he has already served three-and-a-half years in jail.

Wet weather leaves swailing close to deadline

BBC Spotlight

The traditional practice of burning gorse on Dartmoor - swailing - has been delayed this year because of the persistent wet weather. 

At Haytor, the legally-controlled burning has only just begun, days away from the deadline.

Commoners on Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin Moor have from October until the end of March to burn overgrown gorse, but have had to rely on these last few sunny days to get the job done.


Dartmoor Head Ranger Robert Steemson said swailing was good for soil and wildlife.

He said: "It's been going on for hundreds of years and it provides nutrients. The potash goes back into the ground, which then the animals will mill around and take off the green shoots. 

"But predominantly we're aiming to get heather back into the landscape."

Case of dog disease Alabama Rot in Devon

Plymouth Herald

The first reported case in Devon of deadly dog disease Alabama Rot has been discovered .

Football: Local results round-up

Ross Ellis

BBC Radio Cornwall

Bodmin Town have moved up to second in the Peninsula Premier League after an 8-0 victory at Newquay. 

Plymouth Argyle Reserves beat Camelford 4-0, and Plymouth Parkway were 3-2 winners over Callington Town. 

In the West Division, Liskeard lost by a goal to nil to Plymouth Marjon, and Wadebridge won 4-2 over Mousehole.

Local reaction to Article 50: Anne-Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot

BBC Radio Devon

Prime Minister Theresa May is to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty , which formally declares the UK's intention to leave the European Union. 

She is expected to do this in a letter to the European Council, which will formally begin a two-year negotiation process between the UK and the EU over Britain's withdrawal. 

Locally, politicians and business leaders have been giving their reaction.

Anne Marie Morris

The Conservative MP for Newton Abbot, Anne-Marie Morris, was in the Leave camp and told BBC Radio Devon there was "significant opportunity". 

She said: "The South West will benefit, particularly with regard to fishing. 

"With farming, we look forward to CAP [common agricultural policy] reform. But the government has underpinned that which is currently promised from the EU. 

"And, for small businesses, there is a huge opportunity to replace the supply chain to the larger businesses based in the UK instead of importing goods from across the water."

Travel: Diesel and clay spillages in Cornwall

BBC News Travel

  • Near Winnards Perch, the B3274 is partially blocked due to a diesel spillage. Approach with care
  • In Par, on Par Moor Road, there are reports of a clay spillage. A clean-up is under way
  • Skybus flights remain on hold due to continuing poor visibility and low cloud
  • All sailings of St Mawes Ferry have been cancelled due to the weather conditions

Hospital reports 100 delayed discharges a day

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

The Royal Cornwall Hospital has renewed advice that people should only attend its Emergency Department in a critical or life-threatening situation .

Waiting times

The hospital said it had been under huge pressure in recent weeks and months, and a spokesperson said: "Today is particularly bad - we're just full and we've got 100 delayed discharges a day."

Are those David White's twinkly lights in HD?

BBC Radio Cornwall

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We have a new TV monitor in BBC Radio Cornwall's reception, showing off, among other things, one of our studios.

It shows a lot of detail, as you can get a hint of here.

David's on air until noon .