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'Large' fire closes Union Street in Plymouth


Union Street in Plymouth was closed on Thursday night while emergency services dealt with a "large fire".

Buses were diverted and drivers were asked to avoid the area.

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Weather: Fine and warm with chance of scattered showers

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

It will remain fine and warm with a good deal of sunny spells around.

However, some scattered showers are also likely to develop this afternoon.

Maximum temperature: 19C (66F).

weather map

Drugs gang jailed after £66k worth of drugs seized

Millicent Cooke

BBC News Online

A drugs gang has been jailed for supplying class A drugs to "vulnerable people".

A total of 547g of heroin and 130g of crack cocaine, with a potential street value of over £66,000, was seized.

A number of other assets including £22,000 in cash, a caravan and a jet ski, were also confiscated.

Det Insp Mike Jones said: “This group targeted and supplied drugs to vulnerable users across south Devon perpetuating the cycle of crime and the misery that drugs bring.

"We will continue to take the fight to drug suppliers like this and I can assure you we have many more in our sights”.

Jamie Martin, Kelly Woodward and Paul Willis
Devon and Cornwall Police

Jamie Martin, 46, of Lower Cannon Road, Newton Abbot was sentenced to seven years.

Kelly Woodward, 36, of Lower Cannon Road, Newton Abbot was sentenced to six years and three months.

Paul Willis, 41, of Templer Place, Bovey Tracey was sentenced to six years.

At a previous hearing all three pleaded guilty.

Independents take control of council

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The new leader of East Devon District Council has promised the public will be listened to as Independents took control of the council.

Councillor Ben Ingham, leader of the Independent Group in East Devon, was elected unanimously as the leader of the council at Wednesday night’s annual meeting.

The Independent Group are the largest on the council, with 20 members, and will run the council as a minority administration.

They take control of the council from the Conservatives who had run it since 1974 when it was first formed.

Ben Ingham
Daniel Clark

European elections 2019: Polls take place across the UK

Polling station

Voters are heading to the polls for the European Parliament elections.

Seventy-three members, known as MEPs, will be elected in nine constituencies in England, and one each in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Each region has a different number of representatives based on its population - ranging from three MEPs in the North East and Northern Ireland to 10 MEPs in the South East.

In the South West six MEPs will be elected.

Polling stations in the UK are open until 22:00 BST.

Plymouth office block's new lease of life from university

BBC Spotlight

A landmark building in the centre of Plymouth looks set to be transformed by the city's university.

Intercity House

It's announced plans to rejuvenate the Intercity House office block next to the railway station.

The idea is to use it for the university's health, nursing and midwifery work.

It's hoped the new role will act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the railway station area.

Crime commissioner Hernandez in stalking debate

BBC Radio Devon

Devon and Cornwall Police Crime Comissioner Alison Hernandez is to give others advice on how to overcome being a victim of stalking and abuse.

Alison Hernandez

She'll address a seminar being held at Exeter Golf and Country Club by a new Exeter business group called Fernpower, which aims to help empower women in business who are faced with obstacles like discrimination or domestic abuse.

Last September, Alison's former partner was given a suspended sentence for assaulting and stalking her.

Weather: Chance of odd shower but sunny spells too

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

Banks of cloud with slowly edge in from the South West later, possibly bringing a threat of the odd light shower.

However, there should be some bright or sunny spells too.

Maximum temperature: 18C (64F).

weather map

Public inquiry into price hikes on bridge and ferry

Millicent Cooke

BBC News Online

Tamar Bridge

A public inquiry will be held into planned price hikes on the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry.

It currently costs £1.50 for cars to cross the bridge or use the ferry. However, under the new charges, it would jump to £2.

The Secretary of States announced an independent inspector has been appointed to hold the public inquiry on 6 and 7 August at the Guildhall in Plymouth.

One treated after Plymouth chip pan fire

Millicent Cooke

BBC News Online

Evelyn Street

One person has been treated for smoke inhalation after a chip pan fire in Plymouth.

Firefighters from Camels Head and Crownhill were rushed to Evelyn Street at 09:59 to tackle the blaze in a ground floor flat.

The person inside was helped out by neighbours before fire crews arrived, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said.

They were checked over by paramedics at the scene.

Brittany Ferries cancels Pont Aven sailing from Plymouth

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

Brittany Ferries has cancelled sailings of its flagship vessel the Pont Aven from Plymouth.

The vessel is being repaired due to problems with its steering system.

The firm said it will not return to service until at least 31 May.

There have also been changes to sailings between Plymouth and Roscoff.

The company says passengers can get to Spain on alternative sailings from Portsmouth.


Nick Hope

BBC Olympic sports reporter

London Olympic swimming champion Ruta Meilutyte announces her retirement from the sport at just 22 after missing three drugs tests.

Read more

Quick-thinking taxi driver saves woman from £1,800 scam

Millicent Cooke

BBC News Online

A quick-thinking taxi driver has been praised by Plymouth City Council for saving a "vulnerable" woman from being scammed out of £1,800.

"The lady had booked a taxi to take her to her bank after a man claiming to be from the council told her she needed to pay £1,800 for work on her drains," the council said on Facebook.

"Thankfully private hire driver Dave smelled a rat and got in touch with the council and trading standards and police officers were called out."

The Transat to start from France in 2020

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

Transat race

A transatlantic sailing race that has historically started in Plymouth will now start in France.

The Transat, which claims to be the "first and oldest single-handed transatlantic race" will now start in Brest, in northern Brittany.

Organisers said they were looking for "innovative ways to secure the future of The Transat" when the decision was taken.

CEO of OC Sport Hervé Favre said: “We are really pleased to be partnering with Brest for The Transat, and together we share a strong desire to continue developing the race in 2020 and beyond."

MP launches campaign for RFA pay rise

BBC Radio Devon

Plymouth MP Luke Pollard has launched a new campaign to get Royal Fleet Auxiliary seafarers a pay rise that's above inflation.

The RFA provides logistical and operational support to the Royal Navy.

The Labour representative for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport said over the past decade the RFA has experienced funding cuts and freezes and this year they received a pay rise of 1.5%, which amounts to a real-terms pay cut.

RFA ship

South West weather: Dry and sunny

BBC Weather

After any isolated fog patches clear, it will be another dry day, with sunny periods, some of which are likely to be a little hazier than the past few days.

A little fair weather cloud is also likely to develop during the afternoon.

Winds will be mainly light and variable.

Maximum temperature: 14 to 17°C (57 to 63°F).


Weather chart


Weather chart

Police officer failed to arrest man with crack cocaine

A Devon and Cornwall Police officer - who failed to arrest a man found in possession of crack cocaine - has been given a final written warning.

It follows an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct into a stop and search.

The incident was referred by the force in November 2017 after others raised concerns.

A hearing found the police constable had committed gross misconduct for failing to arrest the man for a drugs offence.

The officer had the grounds to arrest the suspect for a drugs offence but chose not to. The officer’s improper conduct and failure to appropriately handle and log evidence meant the man could not be subsequently prosecuted for any offence relating to the drugs found on him. His actions compromised the integrity of the investigation and also put his colleagues in a difficult position.”

OPC Regional Director Catrin Evans

A referral was also made to the Crown Prosecution Service as there was an indication a criminal offence may have been committed. The CPS decided not to authorise any charge.

Takeaways dish up wheat, egg and milk to allergy sufferers

Alison Johns

BBC South West

Kebab shops in Devon and Somerset are being warned they must do more to provide safe food for allergy sufferers.

Inspections by the Trading Standards Service found more than 40% of kebab takeaways failed to comply with laws designed to keep consumers safe.

Officers visited 38 takeaways in Devon and Somerset. In five cases, milk was found in kebab meat without it being on the label. In 12 cases where officers said they had allergies to wheat, egg and milk, they were still served food which contained them.

Getty Images

Nineteen arrested in County Lines crackdown

Charley Adams

BBC News Online

As part of a national crackdown on County Lines drug gangs, 19 people have been arrested, thousands of pounds of drugs have been seized, as well as £81,000 cash.

Devon and Cornwall Police officers joined forces with Regional Organised Crime Units across the country for a national week of action to disrupt the activity of suspected County Lines networks.

County Lines is the term used to describe urban gangs supplying drugs to other parts of the UK using dedicated mobile phone lines.

Police said the gangs are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults in order to move and store drugs and money, often using coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons.

Between 13 and 20 May:

  • 19 people were arrested - 16 men and three women.
  • 33 vulnerable adults and two children were engaged for safeguarding purposes.
  • 49 suspected 'cuckooed' addresses - where drug dealers target the vulnerable - were visited.
  • Officers seized £81,187 in cash.
  • Suspected Class A drugs, including around £7,000 of cocaine, 45 wraps of heroin, crack cocaine, plus suspected cannabis and unknown tablets were also seized.
  • Seven weapons were seized including knives, a BB gun and an axe.
  • Nine mobile phones were seized, plus £25,000 of designer goods.

Throughout the week we have taken action against suspected individuals as well as giving support to young people and vulnerable people who are at risk from County Lines. Young people and vulnerable adults are exposed to physical and mental abuse from these organised networks, and in some instances are trafficked to places a long way from home.

Antony HartDet Supt

BreakingWoman arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences

BBC Radio Devon

A woman has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences in Plymouth.

Officers from Counter Terrorism arrested a 40-year-old woman in the city earlier.

The woman was arrested on suspicion of possessing information likely to be useful to commit or prepare for an act of terrorism, under section 58 of the Terrorism Act.

She currently remains in police custody.

Police said there is no immediate risk to the public.

BreakingWoman arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences

BBC Radio Devon

A woman has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences in Plymouth.

Officers from Counter Terrorism arrested the 40-year-old woman in the city earlier.

The woman was arrested on suspicion of possessing information likely to be useful to commit or prepare for an act of terrorism, under section 58 of the Terrorism Act.

She currently remains in police custody.

Police said there is no immediate risk to the public.

Project to help people make sustainable clothes choices

BBC Spotlight

Exeter University is running a new project which aims to encourage people to be more sustainable when choosing their clothes.


Volunteers have spent the year learning how to make clothes and mend and recycle old garments.

They have even been taught how to make their own fabric and wool.

How you can help medical science with hospital research

BBC Spotlight

Researchers have been encouraging people to take part in clinical trials to try to help further medical science.

The work being carried out by the University of Exeter and the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital covers a range of conditions.

It can involve taking a new medicine or having a pre-existing symptom regularly monitored.

They're also hoping to involve more children in their trials and there's more information on how to get involved here.

New research into ocean plastic pollution

Charley Adams

BBC News Online

The University of Plymouth is joining forces with eXXpedition to conduct new research into the impact plastic pollution is having on oceans.

They will work together to coordinate and complete scientific experiments as part of eXXpedition's Round the World 2019-2021 voyage.

eXXpedition is a community interest company that specialises in all-women sailing trips and focuses on highlighting the impact of single-use plastic on our planet’s oceans, ecosystems and on human health.

The voyage will involve 300 women sailing more than 38,000 nautical miles over two years.

They will set off from Plymouth in October and travel to some of the most important and diverse marine environments on the planet, where they will collect samples to build a comprehensive picture of the state of our seas.

As well, there will be a wider citizen science and outreach programme to encourage people to gain a greater understanding of this global issue.

Collecting samples in glass bottles
The eXXpedition voyage will be collecting samples from around the world.

Weather: Fine, dry and sunny

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

Early fog patches will quickly clear to leave another fine and dry day with some good periods of sunshine.

Some patchy fair weather cloud is likely to build as the day progresses, particularly along southern coastal areas.

Winds will be light and variable with sea breezes developing during the afternoon.

Maximum temperature: 14 to 17C (57 to 63F).

Dealing with mental health in low income communities, is not purely a medical problem
Dealing with mental health in low-income communities is not purely a medical problem, says new research.

Chelsea Flower Show: Interest takes root for SW growers

BBC Spotlight

Chelsea Flower Show

Horticultural exhibitors from the south west are showing off their skills to Her Majesty the Queen at the Chelsea Flower Show.

They have been putting their finishing touches to exhibits for the show ahead of judging.

One of those on display is the Duchess of Cambridge-designed garden titled Back to Nature, which is due to head to NHS Langdon in Dawlish after the event.

You can find more coverage of the show on the BBC website here.

Chelsea Flower Show
Chelsea Flower Show

Torpoint ferry sails back to the Tamar after refit

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

A Torpoint ferry vessel which has been undergoing a refit should be back in service this week, managers say.

The Tamar II has undergone work at A&P in Falmouth (pictured) and should be back in action by the bank holiday weekend - a week ahead of schedule - the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee said.

The work has included updating equipment and electrical work, an extensive overhaul of hydraulic systems, installing a new CCTV system, cleaning the hull and repainting the vessel.

Drivers and passengers using the route on the River Tamar between Torpoint and Plymouth - reported to be the world's biggest and busiest chain ferry service - complained of long delays earlier in the year.

The operators have thanked them for their patience.

Tamar II undergoing work
Tamar Crossings

'Toxic' claim from Tom Daley's husband, Dustin Lance Black

BBC Sport

British Swimming says it is "extremely disappointed" after claims from Tom Daley's husband, Dustin Lance Black, that the organisation has created a "toxic environment" for families at the Diving World Series.

Black, 44, later said the organisation was "corrupt" in a series of tweets.

It followed a dispute over child buggies, which are not allowed on the concourse at the London Aquatic Centre.

British Swimming said it offered to put measures in place for the family.

Plymouth-born Daley, 24, won mixed 3m synchro gold alongside Grace Reid on Sunday after clinching the overall individual 10m World Series crown.

He was supported by some members of his family but husband Black and their surrogate son, Robbie Ray, were absent.

Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black
Getty Images

Authorised travellers sites could be created across Devon

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A network of authorised transit sites for gypsies and travellers to stay at across Devon could be created.

Councils across the county have agreed to seek a more coordinated way to deal with influx of travellers who often turn up at "high profile and unsuitable" locations.

Devon County Council, working with district councils, is exploring the creation of a "network" of pieces of land across Devon, with one or two in each district area, in which gypsies and travellers can be directed to if they turn up in those unsuitable locations.

A willingness to explore negotiated stopping has been agreed already. It would means that local authorities would no longer resort immediately to legal means.

Instead they would direct travelling families to stay, for limited periods of time, on land already identified and agreed where it isn’t causing great inconvenience to anyone.

Travellers in car park
Daniel Clark

Pioneering £2.7m project will help dementia sufferers

BBC Radio Devon

A £2.7m project led by the University of Plymouth will use artificial intelligence to personalise live radio, to help people living alone with dementia.

Radio Me will seamlessly "remix" live digital broadcasts so that listeners receive personalised reminders, information and music.

It's hoped that will improve their quality of life and keep them at home for longer.

The AI software will be created at the university and trialled for 50 months in Cambridgeshire and Sussex.


Plymouth's Exeter Street viaduct closed for seven weeks

BBC Radio Devon

One of Plymouth city centre's busiest routes will be closed for the next seven weeks.

The 140m stretch of the Exeter Street viaduct, which links Charles Cross to St Andrew's Cross will be shut inbound to make sure the city centre can cope with extra traffic heading to The Box and a new leisure complex.

Buses, taxis and emergency vehicles will be able to use Bretonside, which is being reopened for them.

Other drivers will have to follow a diversion and the city council is urging people to consider car sharing, public transport, riding a bike or staggering their journeys.

Plymouth Exeter Street viaduct closure map
Plymouth City Council

Extra trains between Plymouth and Cornwall

BBC Spotlight

Extra train services between Plymouth and Cornwall begin from Monday.

The new timetable means roughly two GWR trains per hour will run on the route.

The company said it would mean more choice for travellers and less crowded services.

In addition, all services to and from London Paddington are now to be operated by the new fleet of trains.

GWR train

Royal Fleet Club to become Scientology church

Plymouth Live

Nine years after buying the Royal Fleet Club, the Church of Scientology has been given planning permission by Plymouth City Council to convert it into a South West hub for the controversial religion.

The decision came on Friday despite one objector feeling it was inappropriate to have a “cult” based near a primary school.

Box clever? Royal Mail launching new parcel postboxes

BBC Business News

Parcel post box
Royal Mail

Royal Mail has announced plans for the UK's first-ever parcel postboxes.

The company said 1,400 of the new postboxes would be installed across the country in more than 30 locations over a six-month period, starting in August.

In Devon and Cornwall, the locations include Exeter, Plymouth and Truro.

Customers will be able to post parcels in the same way that they currently post a letter, provided that postage has been pre-paid using Royal Mail's own online labelling service.

Existing letter postboxes were introduced in the 1850s and Royal Mail said the new move represented the first major change in the system since then.

Anger over asbestos scare closing Mount Batten beach

Millicent Cooke

BBC News Online

Mount Batten beach

The indefinite closure of a popular Plymouth beach due to asbestos concerns has angered and upset local people.

Mount Batten is a popular destination for dog walkers and visitors during the summer months.

It was closed by Plymouth City Council at the end of April after "a small amount of low-grade, low-risk asbestos" was discovered.

However, on 3 May it revealed a "larger amount" of asbestos had been found on the beach and it would remain shut.

Mount Batten beach

On Friday, council workers said the beach would be closed for the foreseeable future as it investigated “the extent of the problem and the most appropriate way of dealing with it.”

Cafe owner June Liew, 44, of the Galley Kitchen, said the delays have made her “angry” and “frustrated”.

She said her business is losing money and has had to cut back on staff as a result of the closure.

The council apologised for the inconvenience but added: “We must emphasise that the safety of our residents is a top priority and until we have resolved the issue, the beach will need to remain closed.”

Mount Batten beach

Plymouth get £2m boost to develop autonomous sea vehicles

BBC Spotlight

Plymouth has received a £2m boost for its plans to become a world centre of excellence in developing autonomous vehicles at sea.

The future is expected to have many more robots going where humans find it too difficult or dangerous.

City College is developing the UK's first foundation degree in the subject.

Sea vehicle

Weather: Bright or sunny spells, but rain possible

BBC Weather

There will be bright or sunny spells throughout Monday.

It should be dry but there is a chance of a few showers developing, most likely this afternoon. Feeling pleasantly warm in the sunshine.

Maximum temperature: 14 to 17C (57 to 63F).


Weather: Rain overnight but a bright day tomorrow

BBC Weather

Outbreaks of rain may linger through the course of the night.

However, it should become largely dry by dawn, though a few mist patches may develop.

Minimum temperature: 7 to 10C (45 to 50F)

weather chart

Tomorrow, any mist will clear early.

It will be a bright day with sunny spells, variable amounts of cloud and a few potentially sharp showers.

Maximum temperature: 13 to 16C (55 to 61F)