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Police name man found dead in Devizes canal

A man whose body was pulled from a canal in Devizes has been named by police. Mark Stobbart, 44, was found dead in the Kennet and Avon Canal yesterday morning.

"Officers are still keen to hear from anyone who was in the vicinity of The Lamb pub in Devizes between 1am and 2am yesterday morning and may have seen Mr Stobbart.

"He was wearing a black jacket, black jeans and a tartan check-style shirt.

"Also, anyone using a boat on the canal on Thursday evening or the early hours of Friday morning is asked to contact Wiltshire Police if they saw anything suspicious."

– A force spokesman

Drugs & mobile phone found by officers

On November 13th 2012, Greatrex and Holder were stopped by police officers in a vehicle on the road outside the prison. Inside the vehicle, officers found a package containing the drug Subutex, a mobile phone, two SIM cards and part of a battery charger.

Greatrex was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, Sharp was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment and Holder was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment for this offence and a further 24 months for an unrelated burglary.

This incident illustrates the partnership working between Wiltshire Police and staff at HMP Erlestoke to disrupt the illegal supply of drugs into the prison. “We were able to intercept these individuals before they threw the drugs and mobile phone over the fence into the prison. “We robustly patrol the areas around the prison and act on intelligence given to us.

– Spokesman, Wiltshire Police

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Recycling centre fire no longer a health hazard

A health warning issued after a fire at a recycling centre in Wiltshire has now been lifted.

Fire crews were called to the Wiltshire Waste & Recycling site at Monument Hill in Devizes on Tuesday 28 January. They found 300 tonnes of burning waste including wood, garden waste and plastics which caused a smoke plume that could be seen for several hours.

Wiltshire Council’s Public Health department asked people to keep windows and doors shut as a precaution.

That warning has now been lifted and the fire brought under control.

Inquest opens into retired policeman and his partner

Bill Dowling and Victoria Rose Credit: Wiltshire Police

A retired police inspector was found dead with his ex-girlfriend in Wiltshire after experiencing a sharp emotional decline, an inquest heard.

Bill Dowling, 59, and Victoria Rose, 58, who had both suffered gunshot wounds, were found in the porch of his home in Devizes on March 2, 2013.

Salisbury Coroner's Court heard Mr Dowling suffered a sudden decline in his mental health in the three weeks leading up to the incident.

Mr Dowling, a keen shooter, was struggling to cope with the grief of losing his mother in 2011 as the second anniversary of her death approached, the inquest heard.

Concerns had also been raised about Mr Dowling's performance as one of the "highest paid" civil servants working in the Ministry of Defence in Upavon.

The relationship between Mr Dowling and Mrs Rose, a divorcee from Devizes, had broken down several months before though the pair remained friends.

Mrs Rose, an assistant at the MoD, supported Mr Dowling when he began to experience depressive symptoms and was signed off work in February 2013.

The inquest heard Mrs Rose frequently accompanied Mr Dowling to the doctor and confiscated the keys to his shotgun cabinet.

However, she had not realised that he had access to a second gun cabinet in his property.

The inquest, expected to last for two days, continues.

Man jailed for arson attack at Devizes petrol station

Russell Osborne has been jailed for an arson attack at a petrol station in Devizes Credit: Wiltshire Police

A man from Devizes has begun a prison sentence after setting light to a van with the driver and passenger still inside. It happened at the Esso garage on Bath Road in Devizes on 26 July 2013.

35-year-old Russell Osborne was sentenced to five years for committing arson with intent to endanger life.

Inspector Matt Armstrong of Wiltshire Police says, "This was a completely reckless crime that could have easily ended with people being very seriously injured or even worse. It wasn't just those targeted at risk but due to the location it could have had a much wider and more devastating affect".

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Water voles filmed in Wiltshire

A new colony of the country's fastest declining mammals, the water vole, has been caught on camera in Wiltshire.

The animals were spotted by ecologist, Laura Plenty, on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Devizes.

The Canal and River Trust says it shows improvements to vole habitats are working.

vole at night Credit: Laura Plenty

Titanic historian says Titanic violin reached more money than any other Titanic artifact at auction

A violin thought to have been played while the Titanic sunk is believed to be the most expensive artifact from the ship ever to come to auction. The violin was auctioned off in Devizes yesterday with bidders reaching 9 hundred thousand pounds.

That was three times the guide price. Peter Boyd Smith, Titanic Historian said he doesn't believe anything else has ever been sold for that amount of money.

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Auctioneer: I don't think this price will ever be beaten

Alan Aldridge, of auction house Henry Aldridge and Son, has said he does not think any other piece of Titanic memorabilia will raise as much as the violin sold today:

I don't think this price will ever be beaten. The violin was the most iconic item we have seen and there were some very, very wealthy people bidding.

We estimated between £200,000 and £300,000 but we always said it had the potential to hit £1 million.

It is the only piece of Titanic memorabilia that has the potential to reach £1 million - it is so, so iconic.

– Alan Aldridge, auctioneer

He said that with the addition of the buyer's premium and VAT, the final price would top £1 million.

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