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Police remind visitors and residents 'to act respectfully'

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

Devon and Cornwall Police is reminding visitors and local residents in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to take rubbish home with them and respect social distancing rules.

Officers said that, although the majority of people behaved responsibly, there had been anti-social behaviour and unauthorised camping in some of the counties' most popular areas.

They said local residents and tourists we being encouraged "to act responsibly and respectfully when out and about this summer to help protect the county and its communities".

The recent hot weather has brought crowds of visitors and residents to our beaches and beauty spots, the majority of whom behave in a considerate and respectful way. We ask that people be responsible. Drive safely, park respectfully, dispose of litter appropriately, take precautions to prevent wild fires, specifically from camp fires or barbecues and be generally courteous to others, so everyone can enjoy our beautiful county."

Insp Rob BoltNeighbourhood Policing Inspector, Devon & Cornwall Police
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Covid-19 has 'pretty tough' impact on South West fishing

BBC Radio Devon

Newlyn harbour

Covid-19 is having a significant impact and been "pretty tough" on the fishing industry in the South West, producers have said.

Normally across the ports of Newlyn (pictured) in Cornwall, and Plymouth and Brixham in Devon, more than £110m-worth of fish is landed every year. However, since the pandemic, the sector has been said to be brought to the brink of collapse.

Jim Portus, from the South Western Fish Producers’ Association, said 2020 would be a "memorable year for all the wrong reasons".

He added "awful storms" in January and February badly affected catches before the Covid-19 lockdown began in March.

He also said crab sales from Devon fishing vessels and producers had been mostly sold to China in recent years, but that came to a "complete stop" when China went into lockdown.

With lockdown itself, only certain vessels were allowed to keep operating, but they saw massive price falls, he added.

The only vessels that carried on fishing were the beam trawlers, who were able to sell their product into places like Holland and Belgium - but at much lower prices than would normally have been expected. That's because everybody's restaurants were shut down; not just in the UK, but all over Europe and, indeed, the world. So it's been pretty tough for the fishing industry."

Jim PortusSouth Western Fish Producers’ Association

NHS treatment delays increase drastically during pandemic

Jenny Walrond

Health Correspondent, BBC Spotlight

The number of people in Cornwall and Devon waiting a year or more for NHS treatment has drastically increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

In Devon, delays are up from 300 in March to just over 1,200 in May.

The number of people in Cornwall waiting a year or more has risen by four in February to 136 in June.

Covid-19 stopped many appointments and procedures going ahead but trusts are now restarting planned treatments and have been urging people to take up any dates they are offered, with the focus on those in more urgent need or who have been waiting the longest.

Most people are supposed to be treated within 18 weeks of being referred by their GP. But, in Cornwall, just over half of patients are waiting longer than that.

Some feel they have had to take things into their own hands.

Nisha Toppin, from Dartington in Devon, has already been waiting a year for surgery at a specialist centre for endometriosis and decided to crowdfund to pay to go private instead because her condition her was "incredibly painful and intense, all of the time" and she was on "maximum doses of painkillers".

There has been the most overwhelming response from friends and family, and from people I don't even know from all over the world who have contributed. It is also helping to raise awareness about endometriosis."

Nisha Toppin

Kate Shields, the chief executive of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, said everything was taking longer because of "every person who comes through is treated as if they've Covid-19" to prevent any spread of the virus.

She said: "It's not people being lazy, it's just that everything slows down so we can keep everyone safe."

The NHS in the South West said it was working with social care and independent sector partners to ensure patients were seen, diagnosed and treated as promptly as possible, while continuing to guard against further Covid-19 outbreaks.

Government £50m scheme for South West could help save jobs

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

It is hoped thousands of jobs will be safeguarded in the South West with more than £50m being allocated for a range of projects.

Among the schemes is Europe’s first geothermal lithium recovery pilot plant to extract lithium for use in batteries at United Downs, near Redruth in Cornwall.

The Hall for Cornwall in Truro (pictured) is also on the list to share in the money from the government's Getting Building Fund.

In Devon, the new future Skills Academy at Exeter Airport is looking for £1m to provide training for advanced engineering and green jobs.

Another scheme on the list is a water sports centre for Ilfracombe, which could bring about 100 jobs.

Projects will have make detailed business cases to get their share of the money, which will be spent over the next 18 months.

The government said it estimated the schemes would create or secure 4,547 jobs in Devon and Somerset, 687 in Cornwall and 345 in Dorset.

Hall for Cornwall website
Hall for Cornwall

Test and trace 'key to schools returning' - scientists

James Gallagher

Health and science correspondent, BBC News

Current testing and contact tracing is inadequate to prevent a second wave of coronavirus after schools in the UK reopen, scientists have warned.

Increased transmission would also result from parents not having to stay at home with their children, they say.

Researchers said getting pupils back to school was important - but more work was needed to keep the virus in check.

The government said plans were in place to ensure schools can fully reopen at the start of the new school year.

Find out more here.


Rural crime costs Cornwall and Devon £500k in 2019

BBC Spotlight


Rural crime cost Cornwall and Devon more than £500,000 in 2019.

It was a slight fall - 1% - from 2018, but bucking the national trend, which saw an increase of nearly 9%.

Figures released by insurer NFU Mutual in its annual Rural Crime Report showed such crime cost £54m in 2019 across the UK, mainly through organised criminal gangs targeting high-value goods and animals, such as tractors, quad bikes and livestock.

But while Devon and Cornwall saw a slight fall, the wider South West, up to Gloucester and Wiltshire, saw such crimes cost a total of £6.6m last year, compared with £5.8m in 2018 - an increase of 14% and the highest level for eight years.

Jonathan Rogers (pictured), from Plymouth, lost 100 lambs worth about £10,000 to rustlers earlier this year.

Jonathan Rogers

I was extremely angry, and almost more angry at myself for not realising what actually happened. I was naive to sheep rustling as it was the first time it had ever happened. It was a very frustrating thing. It's like somebody coming along and they're just taking the easy money."

Jonathan RogersSheep rustling victim

Nigel Grimshire in east Devon, who had turkeys stolen from his farm, said he initially thought a fox had got into the enclosure.

There was this sort of stunned moment thinking: 'Hang on a minute. What's happened here? Is this a fox?' Then it dawned on us as we followed a trail of feathers across a field. You come away from something like that just feeling a bit disheartened."

Nigel GrimshireLivestock theft victim

Police warn against 'reckless antics' on cliffs

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

Police in north Devon have said on Twitter they have recently been seeing "a lot of reckless antics" on cliffs in the area.

Officers said that no photograph was "worth the risk".

They added: "Your actions put not only your life in danger, but those who have to attempt to rescue you, or in some cases recover your body."

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Covid-19 'costs two Devon football sides more than £2m'

BBC Radio Devon

The coronavirus pandemic has cost Devon's two leading football sides more than £2m in revenue, a new survey has suggested.

Figures from Business Rescue Expert estimated Plymouth Argyle lost more than £1.5m, while the cost to Exeter City was in the region of £632,000.

Overall, the country's leading 92 clubs are estimated to have lost £305m.

Football in net

Woman, 80, punched in the face in Paignton

An 80-year-old woman was punched in the face and hit her head on the ground in Paignton this weekend, Devon and Cornwall Police has confirmed.

Officers were called at around 14:30 on Saturday after a report an elderly woman had been assaulted on Palace Avenue.

A 30-year-old woman from Paignton was detained under the Mental Health Act and is receiving care while enquiries are ongoing, police said.

The victim suffered a minor head injury, the force added.

Palace Avenue, Paignton

Eat Out to Help Out scheme 'not complicated'

BBC Spotlight

Diners who eat in at certain cafes, pubs and restaurants across Cornwall and Devon - signed up to the government's new Eat Out to Help Out scheme - are entitled to up to a 50% discount from Monday.

It is part of work aimed at boosting restaurants and pubs post-lockdown.

Food and drink will appear on the menu at full price, and the eatery will deduct the money off the bill and claim it back from the government.

They can claim a maximum of £10 a head from food bills, excluding the cost of beer and wine.

English Riviera and Torquay restaurant owner Mauro Pettinnelli said he thought it was a "really good idea", especially as "people are now coming out in hundreds".

Charlotte Glidden, who manages a farm restaurant near Launceston, said it was not complicated to claim money back from the Treasury under similar government schemes.

Eat Out to Help Out logo

I think it would be fairly straightforward, based on the experience we had of claiming money on other government schemes, like the job retention scheme - the detail required is not too onerous. We have a great till system that will gather the information, but I should think that, even for those that don't have that and will be doing it manually, it shouldn't be too bad."

Charlotte GliddenRestaurant manager

The move is also good news for food producers.

Rupert Farm, who runs a fish supply business near Portreath in Cornwall, said he was hoping people would take advantage of deals "because the knock-on effect is it helps us supply pubs and restaurants".

He added people still needed to take heed of the "fine line" between people going and "not being too cluttered together" to avoid spreading Covid-19.

People can find out which establishments are registered on the government's website.

Exeter's piano doctor plays patients a tune

Andrea Ormsby

BBC Spotlight

A junior doctor at a Devon hospital is using her music to soothe and calm staff, patients and visitors.

Dr Jess Duckworth is known as the 'piano doctor' at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, because she likes to take to her keyboard at the end of a long shift to "get into a place of calm".

For her Master’s degree, she researched what types of music people find relaxing and alleviate stress, and based on that she’s written her own album, Dr Duckworth said.

She added: "It will be very busy throughout the day and then just as you come outside of working hours things start to come down a bit, that's when I decide to come and sit in here and play some piano."

Colleague Dr Kate Hyde said she really appreciated the music, particularly after "a long weekend on call".

"It was really nice just popping down the corridor, hearing the tones of the piano coming out and just taking a few minutes to relax yourself," she said.


Premier inn at Dartmoor rejected

BBC Radio Devon

A controversial plan for a new 80-bed chain hotel on the edge of Dartmoor has been rejected by planners.

Premier Inn want to build a new hotel in Ashburton - just off the A38 at Dolbeare Meadow Business Park.

But Dartmoor National Park turned down the plans saying it wasn't small-scale tourism and had a poor scale and design.

People objecting to the project had said the hotel would have devastated the local economy.

Make-up tips for mask-wearers

Charley Adams

BBC News Online

Influencers have been trialling new ways of keeping your hair and make-up looking good while wearing a mask.

Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets was made mandatory in England on 24 July.

Sally Orchard, from Falmouth, and Ellie Ferrari, from Exeter, show how you can still keep up your beauty rituals while wearing a face mask.

Keeping your make-up and hair looking good in a mask

Footage of girl hit by car sends "vital" message

Police have released shocking footage of a young girl being hit by a car as she runs across the road.

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The warning came "to remind you why road safety education is vital", said police.

"Each year around 120 child pedestrians are involved in collisions on our roads. Please always remember to stop, look and listen."

Amazingly the girl walks away with minor injuries.

Bantham beachgoers face three-mile queue

Roads are expected to be busy around the coast in the south west as the hot weather continues.

On Wednesday afternoon traffic was queuing for about three miles to get to Bantham from the main A379 near Kingsbridge, police warned.

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There were also long queues around the South and North Devon coastlines, in places like Bigbury, Croyde, Braunton and Woolacombe. There was also busy traffic in areas near Exmouth and Teignmouth.

Get the latest on traffic congestion by following BBC Travel SW.

Plans for East Devon solar farm approved

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Proposed field for solar farm

Plans for a giant solar farm in the East Devon countryside that will provide power for 5,000 homes have been approved.

On Tuesday East Devon District Council’s planning committee granted permission for the scheme on land to the south of Rockbeare Hill in Marsh Green for the 15MW solar farm.

The site is expected to return to agricultural use after a 40-year period has lapsed.

Chris Rose, the council’s development manager, said the benefits of the solar farm would outweigh the temporary loss of the agricultural land.

Map showing where the new solar farm will be located

Cllr Geoff Pook said he was fearful of the "industrialisation" of the countryside, but admitted: "when you look at environmental concerns and the carbon neutral targets and considerations, I will be supporting it".

West Hill and Aylesbeare ward councillor Jess Bailey said that she was not convinced the officers had drawn the correct balance between the need to retain the best quality and diverse agricultural land with the environmental benefits of the solar farm scheme.

Permission for the site was granted unanimously by the committee.

Native American slams Chiefs' 'racist caricature'

BBC Radio 5 Live

Exeter Chiefs' use of a native American in its logo has been critcised as "harmful and offensive" following the club's decision to retire the club's mascot but keep its name and logo.

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The club's move followed calls by fans to lose the logo, with a petition asking for the "harmful" branding to be dropped.

LeAndre Nephin of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska told BBC 5 Live the logo was a "racist caricature".

For the majority of people many will have never come across a native American person let alone had a conversation, so what's informing their perception of us as people are these stereotypes

LeAndre NephinOmaha Tribe of Nebraska
Getty Images

The club said in a statement that the name Chiefs dated back to the early 1900s and "had a long history with people in the Devon area".

"The board took the view that the use of the Chiefs logo was in fact highly respectful," it said.

NHS 24/7 mental health helpline rolled out across South West

Rebecca Thorn

BBC News

Young person looking out window
Getty Images

An NHS mental health helpline will be available 24/7 for adults and children in the South West.

The service will be run by mental health professionals, who can refer individuals to urgent or routine services in the local area, the NHS said.

The helpline is open to anyone experiencing a mental health crisis, or family and friends who may be concerned about an individual.

Emergency services including the police and paramedics will also be able to use the helpline when dealing with someone who is suffering from ill mental health.

The roll-out, which the NHS say was always part of the "long-term plan", has been brought forward to help people cope during the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Marsh, Medical Director at NHS England South West said setting the helplines up "in a matter of weeks, rather than years", had been a "monumental effort".

"While this means that helplines will be a work in progress in some places, hard-working mental health teams across the NHS are committed to continuously improving these vital services."

A local helpline can be found by entering a postcode on the NHS website.

Anyone in a serious or life-threatening emergency should still call 999 or go to A&E. "Services are still there for those who need them and you will not be wasting anyone’s time", the NHS said.

No coronavirus cases in Devon 'linked to tourists'

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

None of the low levels of coronavirus cases being confirmed across Devon and Torbay are believed to be linked to visitors to the area, Devon’s public health director has said.

Speaking at a Team Devon Local Engagement Board meeting, Dr Virginia Pearson told the assembled guests that number of cases across the region remained very low and scattered across the county.

She said that they were "all over the data" to check for any linked cases and that, at present, there was no area of concern or setting that escalation of measures was required for.

And she said that as far as they can establish, none of the new cases confirmed in the last couple of weeks are related to tourists or visitors coming into the area.

Data presented to the committee showed that, in the week ending 26 July, there were five new cases confirmed in Torbay and 12 new cases across the rest of Devon, with three in East Devon, five in Exeter, two in Mid Devon, two in North Devon, and one in the South Hams.

No cases were reported in Teignbridge, Torridge or West Devon.

The Plymouth unitary authority area was not included in the findings.

Warning about 'rogue' tree surgeons

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

"Rogue" tree surgeons are targeting households in parts of Devon, two local councils have said.

The South Hams and West Devon authorities said several people had contacted them, saying cold callers had offered to work for cash.

The caller also claimed they had certificates from the council which meant they were allowed to work on a tree with a preservation order or in a conservation area which required council permission beforehand.

The council said no such certificate existed and people should always be wary of people offering to work in this way.

The authorities warned that unauthorised works to protected trees could be punished in some cases by an unlimited fine and a criminal conviction, "so homeowners could potentially find themselves in trouble for unauthorised works".

Football: Exeter ground's future safe for further 25 years

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

Exeter City FC has signed a new lease to stay at its St James Park ground for a further 25 years, the team and Exeter City Council have said.

The lease on the land which houses the Grecians' stadium, owned by the council, secures the club's future until 2046.

Council Leader Phil Bialyk welcomed the signing, saying the club was "an integral part of the city".

Exeter City FC

Rugby: Exeter Chiefs bosses discuss Native American logo

BBC Radio Devon

The board of Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club is due to discuss on Wednesday calls for the team to drop its use of Native American branding.

Several petitions have been launched online about it.

One is calling for an end of the use of the "big chief" mascot. Two others are campaigning against any change.

The Devon club has been in existence for 149 years, but the moniker and a logo containing a Native American has only been officially associated with the club since 1999. The team have no known links to the indigenous people of North America.

A spokesman said earlier this week Chiefs bosses were waiting until after the board discussions to comment on the issue.

Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club ground

West Devon 'longest spell in England without Covid cases'

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

West Devon has been named as the part of England which has had the longest spell without a single confirmed case of Covid-19, according to the latest figures.

The most recent case in the local council area was recorded on 26 June, according to figures published by Public Health England and studied by PA Media.

The Public Health England figures cover positive cases confirmed up to and including 24 July.

They also show no recorded cases in the Torridge area since 9 July.

Because the figures are based only on recorded cases, there may have been people in these areas who had Covid-19 in recent days or weeks but were not detected - perhaps because they did not have a test, or they did not have any symptoms and so were unaware they had coronavirus.

As such, areas cannot be described as being completely free from Covid-19. But, based just on the data available, they currently rank as places where no new cases are being recorded.

Booker Prize 2020: Devon-based Hilary Mantel on longlist

BBC Entertainment and Arts

The Mirror & The Light by Devon-based author Hilary Mantel is among the novels longlisted for this year's Booker Prize.

It is the third book in the author's Cromwell trilogy, and was selected for its "masterful exhibition of sly dialogue and exquisite description", the judges said.

Mantel has previously won the prize twice - for the first two novels in the trilogy.

The longlist will be whittled down from 13 to a shortlist of six in September.

Hilary Mantel

Reopening Devon adapts to Covid-19 changes

Gordon Sparks

BBC Radio Devon

Exeter city centre

Some of Exeter's smaller shops have told the BBC they have been struggling as Covid-19 social distancing has affected their numbers.

However, some restaurants that have reopened - particularly those with outside space - said they had been surprised by demand.

City centre bosses said footfall had risen 8% in the last week but was still down 50% on this time last year, according to the local Business Improvement District.

Clodagh Murphy, from the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, said that businesses were trying very hard to adapt.

We know that footfall on the high street is down, but we also can see amongst all of the local businesses how hard they're working to make it viable for them to stay open, and for this to work for consumers and for themselves."

Clodagh MurphyExeter Chamber of Commerce
Social distancing

In the meantime, holidaymakers have been arriving in the county, but obviously their experience is going to be very different this year, as is that of the county's holiday providers.

Helen Scott, a director at Cofton Holiday Park, only a few miles from the city, said families who were visiting were adapting to their changes quickly.

Everything's different: you have to book swimming slots now, whereas before it's always been quite free - turn up when you feel like it. Now they've got to plan ahead. Most families have changed the way they think about their holidays. They like to have an itinerary, and they're doing more of the activities we put on because they'd like to fill their days with different things. It's quite interesting how they adapted to the changes very quickly."

Helen ScottCofton Holiday Park