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Firearms amnesty begins in Avon and Somerset

AFP/Getty Images

For the next two weeks, Avon and Somerset Police is holding a firearms amnesty.

In 2017, 313 guns and 120 pieces of ammunition were handed over to the force, including shotguns, revolvers, flare guns and a stun gun.

People bringing in firearms during the amnesty won't have to give their names, and won't be prosecuted for having the weapons.

But, anything brought in will be examined, and any crime identified would be investigated.

Police joins forces with university

Police officers
Getty Images

The University of the West of England has started offering apprenticeship degrees in policing.

A three-year Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) has been launched in partnership with Avon and Somerset Police.

It is the first force in the South West to offer this type of degree-based apprenticeship to new recruits.

Apprentice officers will spend three quarters of their time learning on the job and the rest studying, or in the classroom.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I’m delighted that Avon and Somerset Constabulary and UWE Bristol are working together to offer a rewarding learning experience to our new recruits.

"This is a great opportunity for individuals to pursue a varied and interesting role as part of the force while gaining a qualification at the same time."

New scheme to encourage people to use town centre starts

PA Media

A new scheme to improve safety for pedestrians in the centre of Yeovil comes into play from midnight tonight.

Pedestrianisation of Wine Street, Union Street and the top end of Middle street will limit access for vehicles.

Disabled parking and loading bays will also be relocated, however no bays are expected to be reduced.

It's part of a wider effort to encourage more people to use the town centre.

Police apprenticeship degrees offered by university

Getty Images

Apprenticeship degrees in policing are now being offered by the University of the West of England.

The three-year course has been launched with Avon and Somerset Police - which will pay recruits a salary.

It's the first force in the South West to move its initial police learning to a degree-based apprenticeship.

Mum calls for bowel cancer screening age to be lowered

Lisa Wells

A terminally-ill mother from Somerset is calling for the age for bowel cancer screening to be lowered.

Lisa Wells, who set up the charity Lisa's Army, was given a diagnosis of bowel cancer in her early 30s.

The Government says it is planning to lower the age from 60 to 50 and Public Health England says it'll review screening regularly.

Ms Wells is now planning a big charity event to help others with the disease.

BreakingM5 reopens following earlier oil and diesel spill

The M5 has now re-opened following an earlier fuel spillage from an HGV this morning.

Highways England have gritted the road and there is a temporary 50 mph speed limit in place on the northbound carriageway between junction 26 Wellington and 24 at Bridgwater. This is only expected to be in place for a couple of hours.

Balcony fall victim's mum says she will 'never know'

The mother of Freddie Pring, who died after falling from a hotel balcony in Majorca last month, says she is resigned to "never knowing" what happened to cause his fall.

The 20-year-old, a rugby player with Minehead Barbarians, was on a reward trip with work-mates.

In her first broadcast interview Heather Pring has said she knows there was "no foul play" involved, but it has not been possible to discover why Freddie fell from the balcony in the early hours of the morning.

Freddie Pring's mum, Heather, says she weill never know what happened

A memorial fund has been set up in Freddie's name, to raise funds to provide sports coaching and development to adults and children in West Somerset.

Heather says: "I always knew that my son had amazing qualities but it wasn't until after his death that I became aware how much people rated him."

Freddie's mum says she has only really become aware how 'amazing' he was since his death

Call for volunteers to look after pets with sick owners

pet dog

More volunteers are needed in the Yeovil area to help people who are terminally ill to look after their pets.

The Cinnamon Trust said it wanted more people to sign up to help the elderly or people who are very sick.

Tasks range from dog walking to fostering pets after their owner has died.

BreakingMan is arrested after 'gimp suit' incident

The victim took this picture as the "gimp man" came towards her

A man has been arrested in connection with an incident where someone dressed in a gimp suit jumped out on a woman in a village.

She was walking in Claverham,North Somerset, when she saw "someone charging at me in a full black rubbery suit".

The man advanced towards her "grunting and breathing heavily" before fleeing the scene, she said.

The man was arrested on Monday following the incident on Thursday night, a spokesman said.

'We didn't know we'd won until Jos set off on his victory charge'

Jos Buttler
Getty Images

It appears that Jos Buttler's mum was as confused as the rest of us, during yesterday's cricket world cup final.

Pat Buttler, from Somerset - where Jos was born - watched the game at Lord's with Jos's brother.

She said she knew what a Super Over was but did not know it would be used in the final.

"When the scores were level we thought we might have won. Everybody stood around looking and thinking 'have we won, because we beat them in the group stages?'

"But it wasn't to be and we had to do it all again.

"We still didn't know we'd won until Jos set off on his victory charge."

She told BBC Somerset she had seen her son last night after the game had finished "but I haven't seen him this morning.

"I'm told he's still asleep."

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.

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Fire crews 'moooo-ve cow' stuck in mud

A cow "stuck up to its neck" in mud in Somerset, has been rescued by fire crews.

Specialist animal rescue crews worked for several hours to release the cow from a river in Paulton.

Avon Fire and Rescue tweeted they had "just herd our udder-ly brilliant crews have done an a-mooo-zing job".

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Waste disposed using a van to be easier in Somerset

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Getting rid of rubbish using a van or trailer is set to become easier in Somerset following changes to the permit system in operation.

Somerset Waste Partnership introduced permits for van and trailer users in 2016 in a bid to cut congestion at its recycling centres, caused in part by visitors from outside of the county.

The original permits were valid for three years and could be applied for by any van or trailer owner free of charge.

The partnership has now announced the permits system will be changing – with no expiry date on any new permits being issued, and existing permits remaining valid even after they expire.

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

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

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".

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.

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

Police search for missing woman

Emma Murphy
Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Police are searching for a woman in Bristol, who was last seen during a night out in the city.

Emma Murphy, aged 27, was last seen at Lloyds Bar in the city centre on 7 July.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary said she was visiting relatives at the time.

Miss Murphy's relatives became separated from her on a night out and she has not been in contact with them since. Her relatives have said this behaviour is out of character.

Police describe Miss Murphy as white, 5ft 7ins tall and slim, with shoulder-length brown hair.

She was last seen wearing a black dress and white sandals and carrying a black bag.

Police have asked for anyone with information to contact them quoting reference number 5219154138.