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MPs to debate cervical screening campaigner's petition

Millicent Cooke

BBC News Online

Natasha Sale
Natasha Sale

MPs will debate lowering the cervical screening age from 25 to 18 following a campaign by Devon mum Natasha Sale.

The mum of four, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016, launched the online petition in August last year.

Ms Sale, from Newton Abbot, achieved more than 78,000 signatures before she died in December.

Her friends and family continued her campaign after her death - with the petition reaching 100,000 signatures earlier this month, and it now having almost 130,000 supporters.

Natasha Sale
Natasha's Army

Writing in response to her petition in September, the government said it had "accepted the UK National Screening Committee recommendation that the first invitation for cervical screening should be offered at age 25".

It said cervical cancer in women under that age was very rare.

The issue will be debated by MPs in parliament on Monday.

"By reducing the age of smear tests and cervical screenings today, we can save lives, we can tackle cell changes early and prevent cervical cancer. If I can do anything with my life, I want to make this change happen."

Natasha SaleCervical screening campaigner

Warning to 'snow tourists' as hundreds head for Dartmoor

Plymouth Live

Fun seekers have been told to take care when visiting snowy Dartmoor over the next 24 hours.

Weather: Cold, showers and an ice warning

Emily Wood

BBC Weather

There will sunny spells on Tuesday morning but showers will soon spread from the west.

These will be a mix of rain, sleet and hail and possibly snow and there is a Met Office yellow warning for ice valid until midday.

In the afternoon there will be sunny spells and more isolated showers.


Maximum temperature: 4 to 7C (39 to 45F).

A cold evening is expected with clear periods and variable cloud.

Minimum temperature: 0 to 3C (32 to 37F).

Failed police forces merger 'cost £250,000'

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

About £250,000 was spent on the failed merger between the Devon & Cornwall and Dorset police forces.

Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police

Devon and Cornwall Police Commissioner Alison Hernandez confirmed that the project to explore a potential merger had cost the two forces £200,000.

That was split on a 70:30 basis between her force and Dorset’s, with the Home Office providing an additional grant of £50,000.

Questions about the cost of the abandoned merger were raised after Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said directly it had cost about £500,000 when he appeared at the Dorset County Council Safeguarding, Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The figure for the move preparations was later revised by Mr Underhill's office.

But both police and crime commissioners' offices have now confirmed the total figure was £250,000.

The two police forces have a combined budget of well over £4m and employ more than 7,000 people, so it was right and proper that we explored in detail the implications of a potential merger on them and, importantly, the public that they serve."

Alison HernandezPolice and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall

Ms Hernandez stopped the merger plans in October, saying at the time there would not be enough benefit to communities in Devon and Cornwall to justify a resulting increase in council tax.

Weather: Cold, with an ice warning

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

Rain and squally winds will cross from the west on Monday evening, clearing by the early hours.

The rain may turn sleety on the hills as it clears. Clear spells and isolated showers thereafter.

Minimum temperature: 2C (36F).


A chilly day is expected on Tuesday with a mix of sunny spells and showers that may turn a little wintry on the highest moors and tors. Lighter winds.

Maximum temperature: 6C (43F).

There is also a Met Office yellow warning for ice valid from midnight on Tuesday until 12:00.

New phase clamps down on 'county lines' drug networks

BBC Radio Devon

Devon and Cornwall Police has launched phase two of a campaign to raise awareness of dangerous drug networks known as county lines.

The term is used when urban gangs supply drugs to other parts of the UK using dedicated mobile phone lines.

The new phase was focusing on transport links, police said, and saw young, vulnerable people involved "often moved using trains, buses, or taxis", police said.

Officers are asking drivers and transport staff to look out for anyone showing signs of mistreatment, or if a child seemed to be travelling long distances and was unfamiliar with a local area.

County lines poster
Devon and Cornwall Police

Devon and Channel Islands among Britain in Bloom finalists

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

A Devon town and a Channel Islands capital are two of 71 areas across the British Isles aiming for gardening gold after being nominated as Champion of Champions finalists in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) 2019 Britain in Bloom competition.

Now in its 55th year, the finalists of Kingsbridge in Devon and St Helier in Jersey will be up against Durham, Perth, and Castlecaulfield in Northern Ireland.

Truro (pictured) won the top award last year.

All had been hand-picked by the judges based on their exceptional past performance, the RHS said.

Judging chairman Darren Share said many of the finalists were on the front line of "tackling some of the UK’s biggest challenges such as climate change, plastic waste on beaches and declining pollinator populations".

Truro in Bloom
Truro in Bloom

Elsewhere in the competition, a Cornish town, parts of Jersey and Sark are finalists in other categories.

They include:

  • Newquay - Large Coastal
  • St Clement, Jersey - Coastal
  • St Aubin, Jersey - Village
  • Sark - Coastal

The RHS Britain in Bloom judges will visit finalists during judging fortnight, starting on 29 July and the winners will be announced in October.

'Do not stockpile medicine for no-deal Brexit'

BBC Spotlight

People in Cornwall are being urged not to stockpile medicines amid the uncertainty over Brexit.

Pharmacists in the county say patients are raising concerns about supplies in the event of a no-deal.


The Department of Health says pharmaceutical companies have been told to make sure they have got six weeks' worth stored away by 29 March.

There are contingency plans in place so that manufacturers and wholesalers and suppliers are actually holding extra stock in case of a no-deal Brexit, so that if that happens there is still plenty of drugs and medicines in the country that still supply people's prescriptions."

Ian BloxhamSt Dennis Pharmacy

Council could spend £70m cutting down diseased ash trees

Chris Quevatre

BBC News Online

Cutting down diseased ash trees could cost the region up to £70m, according to Devon County Council.

Ash dieback is a fungus that starves trees of water, and leads to leaf loss and, eventually collapse.

Roadside trees can therefore become dangerous to drivers.

There are 440,000 ash trees in Devon, but the council will now cut down any where more than half of the canopy has been affected.

Weather: A bright start with cloud expected later

BBC Weather

A bright start to Monday with some early, hazy sunny spells.

Through the day, cloud will steadily thicken from the west, with a chance of a shower being blown in on a freshening southwesterly wind.

Maximum temperature: 10C (50F).

weather map

High tide times for the region

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

If you're planning a trip to the coast or seaside, here are the high water times around Devon and Cornwall.

tide times map

We'll have the latest forecast on BBC Spotlight at 13:30.

Weather: Heavy showers with some sunny spells

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

This morning will see some heavy spells of rain, which will then clear to leave sunny spells.

The showers will, however, continue this afternoon, and there could be a risk of thunder.

Maximum temperature: 11C

weather map

Row over erection of flagpoles at police HQ in Bodmin

BBC Radio Cornwall

A row's broken out in Bodmin about whether Devon and Cornwall Police should install two 20ft (6m) high flag poles at its Cornish headquarters.

Some residents have started an online petition against the plan - complaining it's a waste of money at a time when the Police and Crime Commissioner wants to charge residents in Cornwall more for policing.

It's thought the cost of the work is about £1,100.

quote box

We are able to make that investment because of prudent management of the capital budget, which is not to be confused with the budget that pays for day-to-day expenditure like police officer salaries. We have spent a relatively modest £1,160 on installing two flagpoles to allow us to fly the Cornish flag outside this important building. I hope the public would agree with me that improving facilities in Cornwall for our community, our hard-working officers and staff is money well spent.

Alison HernandezPolice and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall

Exeter City set to bolster squad

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Exeter City are close to signing two players from Premier League clubs.

A left-back and a winger have almost agreed terms on moving to St James Park, with one on loan and the other on a permanent deal.

Exeter manager Matt Taylor hopes to have the players registered in time to be available for City's trip to Newport County on Saturday.

Matt Taylor

"It's been an intense search, we've been as patient as we possibly could, but when these players became available we moved as quickly as we could," Taylor told BBC Sport.

"It'll mean we've fought off competition not only from our league, but the league above as well.

"That shows our reputation as a club for developing young players."

Global change can start with a local focus, study says

Jenna Hawkey

BBC News Online

People’s love for their local areas could help tackle global environmental problems, researchers say.

Parochialism is often seen as a negative thing, but researchers from the University of Exeter argue that "positive parochialism" could be a foundation for environmental action and change.

Their study looks at the impact of the Parish Maps Project, which started in the 1980s and saw local communities come together to create maps of their local area, charting the things that they value locally.

It led to a huge upswell in local environmentalism... there’s no necessary conflict between feeling connected to your local area and feeling connected to the wider world. For a long time, the consensus has been that if we want people to think about global issues they need a cosmopolitan world view – but this may not be the case. Given where we are now in terms of trying to encourage people to make changes to help the environment, 'positive parochialism' offers something that has been overlooked."

Professor Patrick Devine-WrightUniversity of Exeter
University of Exeter
The Parish Maps project saw communities chart the things that they valued in the local area

The study examined Parish Maps archive materials held at the University of Exeter, and researchers also carried out in-depth interviews with people who were involved in the original project to examine its legacy.

Prof Patrick Devine-Wright added that the research highlights how the project encouraged people to engage with environmental policy and planning in "emotional and creative ways".

Devoto and Cowan-Dickie get England recalls

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Exeter centre Ollie Devoto and hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie have been recalled to the England squad ahead of the first Six Nations Test in Ireland next month.

Devoto has not been involved with the national side since 2016 when he was still with Bath, while Cowan-Dickie's last cap came against South Africa last summer.

Ollie Devoto
Getty Images

But there is no place for prop Alec Hepburn, although fellow front-row Harry Williams does keep his place.

Jack Nowell is recalled after returning from injury against Castres last week while Henry Slade is also in the squad.

Andrews extends Torquay loan

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Torquay United have extended the loan of Bristol City youngster Jake Andrews until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old midfielder, who has also had time at Cheltenham Town and Chippenham Town, initially joined the club at the end of August.

View more on twitter

Weather: A chilly day but sunshine expected

BBC Weather

Apart from the odd morning wintry shower, it will be a dry day with sunny periods.

The sunshine will turn hazy through the afternoon as high cloud increases.

It will be chilly but with the brisk winds easing down.

Maximum temperature: 8C (46F).

weather map

Brexit: 'Oh, I should have thought about this a bit more'

BBC Radio Devon

Theresa May is facing a vote of no confidence later after MPs overwhelmingly rejected her Brexit deal.

It was the worst defeat on a government in modern British politics with 432 against and 202 for the deal.

The confidence vote is expected to be held at about 19:00 GMT.

These people in Devon have been giving their views on Mrs May's defeat...

Skinner gets Scotland Six Nations call-up

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Sam Skinner
Getty Images

Exeter lock Sam Skinner has been named in Scotland's squad for the Six Nations.

The 23-year-old, who made his debut during the autumn internationals, has played played three times for the Scots.

Scotland begin their campaign against Italy at Murrayfield on 2 February.

Snow and ice warning across Devon

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for snow and ice across parts of Devon.

It is in place from 12:00 until 12:00 on Thursday.

snow and ice warning
Met Office

Weather: A windy day with showers and bright spells

BBC Weather

A few bright or sunny spells possible but with outbreaks of rain spreading from the west.

Turning clearer again later in the day with one or two showers and it will be rather windy.

Maximum temperature: 10C (50F).

weather map

May's historic defeat: How did your MP vote?

BBC Spotlight

Devon's Conservative MPs Sarah Wollaston, Anne Marie Morris, Hugo Swire and Johnny Mercer all voted against Theresa May's Brexit deal last night.

Labour's Ben Bradshaw and Luke Pollard also voted against the deal.

Cornwall's MPs were largely against Mrs May's deal, only George Eustice and Sarah Newton voted for it.

Peek-a-ewe! A tree-mendous snap of some sheep

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

Barry Quick from Ipplepen has sent us this great photo of a sheepish encounter he had while out near Haldon forest, near Ashcombe.

Sheep behind tree. Pic: Barry Quick
Barry Quick

Have you any pictures you want to share with us? If so, please email them in.

Reservoir's bat boxes 'providing valuable insight'

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

Bat boxes put up at a Devon reservoir have provided "valuable insight into the activities and preferences of eight protected species", those behind their installation say.

One-hundred-and-twenty boxes of five different designs were erected in three woodlands around Burrator in 2010, South West Water and South West Lakes Trust said.

Since then, volunteers had undertaken nearly 7,000 box checks in all types of weather, every month between April and October.

Project leader Paul McNie, from South West Water, said: "Bats are important because they represent over one-third of British mammal species and are indicator species for the health of the environment".

Burrator Bat Box Scheme
Burrator Bat Box Scheme

Understanding our bat population helps us understand the health of our woodland ecosystem and informs future habitat management decisions."

Paul McNieSouth West Water

Species of bat found using the boxes have included:

  • Common pipistrelle
  • Soprano pipistrelle
  • Brown long-eared
  • Daubentons
  • Natterers
  • Whiskered
  • Barbastelle
  • Noctule

Police told to 'man up' in paperwork grumble debate

BBC Radio Cornwall

Bodmin Police's comments on how much time paperwork can take up has sparked a heated debate on Facebook.

View more on facebook

The police said that "four statements written by one local officer" had taken up "almost the entire shift".

"One of a number of tasks which keep us out of public view," said the post.

"Gotta be done in order to obtain witness evidence but no less frustrating."

Dean Andrew told officers to "man up".

"This is your job. It is what the tax payer is paying you to do," he commented.

Eileen Gearing said: "My dad was a copper and the main part of his job was gaining respect and trust from the public. Paperwork was always part of his day but it didn't stop him cycling 17 miles policing 'his patch'."

But Alice Hickmore replied: "They are making a point... they are always moaned at about not being on the streets, it's frustrating they can't be on the streets to help everyone but they have to do paperwork too."

Bodmin Police replied: "Nobody is complaining or moaning and it has been done properly thank you!"

Four Devon MPs to vote for Brexit deal, and five against

Jenny Kumah

BBC South West politics reporter

At least four Devon MPs will vote in favour of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal and five are expected to vote against, the BBC understands.

Supporting it are Conservatives:

  • Sir Gary Streeter (South West Devon)
  • Mel Stride (Central Devon)
  • Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon)
  • Peter Heaton Jones (North Devon)

Against are:

  • Sarah Wollaston (Totnes, Conservative)
  • Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot, Conservative)
  • Hugo Swire (East Devon, Conservative)
  • Labour's Ben Bradshaw (Exeter, Labour)
  • Luke Pollard (Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Labour)

Weather: A cloudy day with drizzle possible

BBC Weather

There's a lot of cloud on Tuesday morning with just the odd glimmer of brightness.

The cloud will remain in the afternoon with patches of drizzle possible.

Maximum temperature: 11C (52F).

weather map

Weather: Staying cloudy and mainly dry

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

Cloud will increase through Monday evening with it then lingering into the night.

Most areas will remain dry. However, the odd patch of drizzle cannot be ruled out.

Minimum temperature: 1 to 4C (34 to 39F).


There will be plenty of cloud around on Tuesday, with limited amounts of bright or sunny weather.

It should be largely dry. However, thicker areas of cloud could produce one or two drizzly spells.

Maximum temperature: 8 to 11C (46 to 52F).

Devon and Cornwall Police issuing spit guards

Millicent Cooke

BBC News Online

Spit and bite guard
Devon and Cornwall Police

Devon and Cornwall Police have announced the force is introducing spit and bite guards (SBGs) with immediate effect.

The transparent mesh fabric hoods are used to prevent those arrested from spitting or biting officers.

The force said that 216 members of its staff were spat on between 2016 and 2017.

But civil liberties groups have called the mesh hoods placed over suspects' heads "dangerous and degrading".

Supt Ian Drummond-Smith said that they would protect 999 staff.

Biting and spitting is an atrocious act and the new SBGs will provide additional protection to help keep everyone safe. Too often, officers, security guards or NHS staff are spat upon, not just with saliva but also with blood and other body fluids."

Supt Ian Drummond-SmithDevon and Cornwall Police

Speeding crackdown begins

BBC Spotlight

A two-week campaign focusing on speeding motorists has started in Devon and Cornwall.

Police have said they'll be "anywhere and everywhere" over the coming days, using camera vans and unmarked vehicles to catch those flouting the law.

Speed camera

Chief Inspector Adrian Leisk, of Devon and Cornwall Police, who is in charge of policing roads in the force area, said too many people were still becoming casualties on roads.

Weather for Devon and Cornwall: Cloudy with sunny spells

BBC Weather

There will be some areas of cloud on Monday morning but also some bright or sunny periods too.

Monday weather map

In the afternoon it should remain dry and bright with a mixture of cloud and sunny spells.

Maximum temperatures: 7 to 10C (45 to 50F).

Sea food firm moving some work abroad

BBC Inside Out

A leading Devon food business says it is moving part of its operation overseas because of a shortage of workers in the South West.

The Blue Sea Food Company in Paignton relies heavily on European workers, with about 60% of its 150 staff from the European Union.

However, it is sending some of its crab to be picked in Vietnam.

Blue Sea Food production

Managers said they did not think they could recruit enough staff in Devon to support their business as it expanded.

The firm said it was doing all it could to hire staff locally, but added it was also concerned about the government's proposed new immigration rules.

The government said its skills-based immigration plans would meet the demands of the economy post-Brexit.

Find out more on BBC Inside Out South West, 19:30 on BBC One, and on the BBC iPlayer afterwards.

Weather: Milder, but rather cloudy

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

Devon and Cornwall will have a rather cloudy day with a little drizzle possible from time to time.

However, it is expected to be a milder day than recently. A light north-westerly breeze.

Maximum Temperature: 6 to 9C (43 to 48F).


Friday evening and night will be mainly dry with some clear spells possible.

It is then expected to be mostly cloudy through tonight with a few spots of drizzle possible. Increasingly breezy.

Minimum Temperature: 2 to 5C (36 to 41F).