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  1. Fake degree-level assignments 'ratified by Plymouth University'
  2. Two-lorry crash causing severe delays on M5
  3. Extra beds for rough sleepers in Exeter
  4. Former navy officer goes on trial for sex assaults
  5. Plans to transform social care services in Cornwall
  6. Some hedgehog rescues may be 'unnecessary'
  7. Updates on Tuesday 14th November

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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  1. 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 Wednesday 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.

  2. Jailed Devon conman ordered to pay £5.8m

    A fraudster who conned American investors out of millions of pounds has been ordered to pay £5.8m or have his sentence extended by seven years.

    Joseph Birch lived a lavish lifestyle near Okehampton, and claimed to be a knight, a peer, and a Royal Marine in a series of elaborate schemes.

    Joseph Birch

    Today he returned to Exeter Crown Court, where he was sentenced to seven and a half years in 2016.

    Judge Graham Cottle said he was "breathtakingly dishonest" and the money covered "assets he has not disclosed".

  3. Devon man has his parcel held because of 'terrorist' concern

    Hayley Westcott

    BBC News Online

    A Devon businessman says he has had his clothes delivery held because he has the same name as a terrorist.

    Muhammed Sami, from Exeter, ordered £300 worth of items from a website but never received the parcel after a phone call from courier, DHL.

    He was told his name was on a sanction list in the United States with others who are involved with "terrorist activities" and "money laundering".

    DHL says it has a "legal obligation" to screen shipments.

    Muhammed Sami
  4. Ex-navy officer 'used dominant position to make advances'

    Hamish Marshall

    BBC Spotlight

    A prominent Plymouth businessman used his dominant position to make unwanted sexual advances to young men, a court has been told.

    Charles Howeson, 67, Stonehouse, is facing 11 historic counts of indecent assault and one of attempted serious sexual offence.

    A number of the alleged offences happened in tunnels on Drake's Island in Plymouth Sound, Bristol Crown Court heard.

    Charles Howeson

    Mr Howeson was an executive director of the Groundwork Trust charity in the 1990s. It was clearing up Drake's Island, in Plymouth Sound, and it has been alleged he got people working for the charity to go into tunnels there where he touched them on the pretext of lifting them up to carry out checks on cables and switches.

    When the allegations came to light, the charity did not encourage the accusers to inform police. Instead, it let Mr Howeson retire on health grounds, the court was told.

    In all, nine men have made complaints, including one allegation of an indecent assault on board HMS Cleopatra where Mr Howeson was second in command during his time in the Royal Navy.

    He denies the charges and the trial continues.

  5. Exeter researchers find climate change strategy 'risky'

    Sarah Gosling

    BBC News Online

    Volcano under cloud

    Researchers from The University of Exeter have called climate change reducing geoengineering a "risky strategy", one which could cause catastrophic droughts.

    Exeter academics have focused on stratospheric aerosol injection, a geoengineering process that mimics the aftermath of tropical volcanic eruptions, when aerosols (minute particles in the atmosphere) are injected into the atmosphere.

    These particles reflect sunlight before it reaches ground level, cooling the earth and reducing cyclone activity.

    Volcanic plumes
    Image caption: A band of natural aerosol plumes from tropical volcanoes spread, and enter the stratosphere

    The researchers, led by Dr Anthony Jones, have found however that "regional solar geoengineering is a highly risky strategy which could simultaneously benefit one region to the detriment of another".

    They believe that halting another potential Hurricane Katrina in the Northern Hemisphere could lead to severe droughts in sub-Saharan Africa.

    With geoengineering under serious international consideration, Dr. Jones said: "It is vital that policymakers take solar geoengineering seriously and act swiftly to install effective regulation."

  6. Car 'completely destroyed' by flames after crash

    Sarah Gosling

    BBC News Online

    A car was "completely destroyed" by flames following a crash earlier today in the Whiddon Down area, along with a portion of the embankment on the A3124.

    Both passengers had escaped the vehicle before the flames took hold, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said.

    Fire crews were able to put the fire out, and left the scene in the care of the police.

    The road between Exeter Road and Two Post lane is currently closed.

  7. School cash: 'Curriculum cut and class sizes increased'

    BBC News Education

    Head teachers from Devon and Cornwall have joined others from 24 counties to hand a letter to the chancellor, urging him to scrap cuts to school budgets.

    Schools says they are set to lose £1.7bn as part of the new national funding formula.

    Heads in Worth Less campaign

    Head teacher for Humphrey Davy School in Penzance, Bill Marshall, was part of the group delivering the letter in London earlier (pictured).

    He said: "What we find is that there are schools that are addressing their budgets by cutting back on the curriculum, increasing class sizes, and cutting back on the number of subjects available.

    "They’re also not being able to offer those enrichment activities which we know are really important for developing the characters and personalities of our young people."

    The government said the new scheme helps underfunded areas.

  8. Village to have blanket speed limit of 20mph

    Andrew Segal

    BBC Local Live

    A Cornish village is to have a blanket speed limit of 20mph after a consultation, a parish council says.

    Feock Parish Council said on Facebook that work by Cornwall Council to make all of Devoran 20mph was expect to start in February 2018.

  9. Teignbridge beaches ranked 'excellent'

    Sarah Gosling

    BBC News Online

    Teignbridge has welcomed "excellent" results across its swimming spots following tests of bathing water quality standards.

    The tests, carried out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), measure current water quality and pollution risk forecasts.

    Councillor Phil Bullivant of Teignbridge District Council said: "Teignmouth in particular has benefited from significant investment resulting in massive improvements to bathing waters and this is something we are really proud of.

    "Back in 2014, it was at risk of being classed as poor and now it's been awarded excellent - the highest, cleanest class, so this is really fantastic news."

    Teignmouth Town Beach

    However, it was not all good news for the county, as, out of seven beaches in England ranked poor in the latest water quality tests, three of them are in Devon.

    Swimmers are being advised not to bathe at Instow Beach, Wildersmouth at Ilfracombe and at Coombe Martin as water quality was found to be below the minimum standard.

  10. Weather: Staying cloudy before clearing on Wednesday

    BBC Weather

    Remaining rather cloudy overnight with low cloud and hill fog.

    There will be further patchy rain or drizzle and where the skies clear, mist and fog will readily form. Minimum temperature: 9C (48F).


    A damp, cloudy and foggy start to Wednesday, but the cloud will lift and it will turn drier and brighter.

    However, the odd spot of rain remains possible. Maximum temperature: 14C (57F).

  11. Schools 'dealing with real-terms cuts of £1.7bn'

    BBC News Education

    Head teachers representing more than 5,000 schools across England - from Cornwall to Cumbria, and including Devon - say they are dealing with real-terms cuts of £1.7bn between 2015 and 2020.

    A protest letter delivered to the chancellor over "inadequate" funding is warning of schools increasingly having to make "desperate requests to parents for 'voluntary' donations".

    Heads are calling for an extra £1.7bn per year for schools.

    Without this £1.7bn being restored, heads are warning the chancellor:

    • They will not be able to afford to recruit teachers
    • Class sizes will rise
    • Subjects will have to be withdrawn
    • Sixth forms could close
    • Special needs pupils will not get the support they need

    The government has already moved £1.3bn of education funding directly into school budgets, and said that it had taken significant steps towards resolving funding inequalities.

  12. Crews save £1.5m MRI scanner after lorry catches fire on M5

    Devon Live

    Firefighters saved a £1.5m MRI scanner from being destroyed after a lorry caught fire on the M5 in mid-Devon on Monday evening.

  13. Consultation into future of Devon new town

    BBC Radio Devon

    A two-month consultation is under way on the future of Cranbrook in east Devon.

    The new town, on the outskirts of Exeter, has 1,600 homes and is expected to double in size in the next five years. It's estimated it will be as big as Barnstaple in the next two decades.

    East Devon District Council said it wanted to hear the views of people living in the area about how it could grow into a "happy, healthy and successful" town for future generations.

  14. Alleged victims of ex-sailor 'did not want to be touched'

    Hamish Marshall

    BBC Spotlight

    None of the alleged victims of a former Royal Navy officer and prominent Plymouth businessman on trial for historic sexual offences "wanted to be touched", prosecutors have told a court.

    Sixty-seven-year-old Charles Howeson, who lives in Stonehouse, has held a number of leading positions in the public and private sector after a 25-year career in the navy.

    He faces 12 alleged offences dating from 1985 to 1994 and involving nine different men. They include 11 counts of indecent assault and one other serious sexual offence.

    Paul Dunkels QC, for the prosecution, told Bristol Crown Court: "This case is about sexual behaviour towards young males, touching ... usually over clothing - sometimes inside.

    "It could be described as groping."

    Mr Howeson denies the charges. The trial, due to last at least four weeks, continues.

  15. Exeter MP Bradshaw demands Russia enquiry from Theresa May

    Sarah Gosling

    BBC News Online

    Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw is at the forefront of calls for Prime Minister Theresa May to answer questions regarding her recent accusations of Russian meddling in elections.

    Mrs May yesterday accused Moscow of carrying out cyber espionage to "sow discord in the West".false

    Mr Bradshaw has questioned the timing of such a declaration from the prime minster, and has asked for a judge-led enquiry into Moscow's possible influence in the Brexit referendum.

    View more on twitter

    Speaking to Devon Live, Labour MP Mr Bradshaw said: “This is not about the outcome of the EU Referendum."

    "This is about the security and integrity of our democracy and evidence of interference by a foreign power."

  16. Arson in Paignton public toilets

    BBC Radio Devon

    A fire in public toilets in Torbay is believed to have been started deliberately, firefighters say.

    Crews were called just before 18:00 on Monday to the toilets in Marine Parade, Paignton, and found a small fire involving a pile of rubbish.

    The fire service said Torbay Council and police were informed of the incident.

  17. Woman charged over St Ives golf club dinner fight

    Johnny O'Shea

    BBC News Online

    A woman has been charged with assaulting a police officer after a fight broke out at a golf club's annual dinner.

    The West Cornwall Golf Club function was being held at the Tregenna Castle Hotel in St Ives, Cornwall.

    Police said they were called to the hotel at 23:40 on Friday following reports of a fight having broken out at a private party.

    The 22-year-old woman has also been charged with assault by beating, and faces a further two charges of criminal damage and using threatening words or behaviour.

    A 27-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with the fight. He has been released under investigation pending further inquiries.

    The hotel and the golf club have been contacted for comment.

    Tregenna Castle Hotel. Pic: Google
  18. Cornwall travel: Crash on A39 Atlantic Highway at St Teath

    BBC Radio Cornwall

    On the A39 Atlantic Highway, traffic is very slow moving due to an accident near the turning for St Teath. It's affecting traffic between Wadebridge and Camelford.

  19. Ex-navy officer sex accusations 'mostly unwanted touching'

    Hamish Marshall

    BBC Spotlight

    Accusations against a former Royal Navy officer and prominent Plymouth businessman on trial for historic sexual offences are mostly of unwanted touching, a court has heard.

    Sixty-seven-year-old Charles Howeson, who lives in Stonehouse, has held a number of leading positions in the public and private sector after a 25-year career in the navy.

    Charles Howeson

    The jury, at Bristol Crown Court, was told the 12 alleged offences dated from 1985 to 1994 and involved nine different men. They include 11 counts of indecent assault and one other serious sexual offence.

    They relate to Mr Howeson's time on board HMS Cleopatra, where he was second in command, and in civilian life. The prosecution said the offences were mostly of unwanted touching where Mr Howeson was in a dominant position either by rank or senior position in an organisation.

    The court was told he was moved to another ship after two complaints were made in the navy, and he was given a "convenient retirement" from a role with a Plymouth charity.

    The trial is due to last at least four weeks. Mr Howeson denies the charges.