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Farming unions in crisis talks amid milk price protests

Four farming unions met today for an emergency summit amid widespread supermarket protests across the UK about "unfair" milk prices.

They say that government, retailers and the food service industry must "step up to the plate" to tackle the crisis facing the British farming industry.

Speaking after the summit, David Handley of Farmers For Action said "I don't think there's any farmer out there at the moment that will accept they can just sit back on their laurels."

The meeting follows days of protests by farmers including Milk Trolley Challenges, blockades at distribution centres and even bringing cattle into supermarkets.

Farmers estimate that it costs between 30 and 32p to produce a litre of milk but the average price paid across the UK is 23.66p - following a drop of 25% in a year.

Dairy farmers call on government, retailers and the food service industry to Credit: PA

Meurig Raymond, president of the National Farmers Union said farmers were facing "all the risk in these extremely volatile times".

I believe there is now, at long last, a recognition of the dire straits that farmers are finding themselves.

People are losing money. There is no way farmers can sustainably stay in business with these sorts of prices.

There has been a race to the bottom to devalue product. When four pints of highly nutritious milk is selling for less than a bottle of water then there is something wrong in the culture of society.

– Meurig Raymond, NFU president
Meurig Raymond speaking at NFU conference earlier this year Credit: PA

Scotland's Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment called for widespread support of the dairy industry.

I am calling on retailers and other buyers to get behind the dairy sector in this time of need and to pay a fair price for milk.

I fully recognise the difficulties being faced by dairy farmers because of the low price being paid for milk and volatility on the global market, and I have written to my UK counterparts calling for a joint ministerial meeting on this issue.

I am also happy to meet again with the dairy sector at any time and in any place during these very difficult times."

– Richard Lochead, Scotland's Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment

The four main unions, the National Farmers' Union, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland and the Ulster Farmers Union, met today in central London to discuss the "crisis".

Women shoppers targeted in string of supermarket distraction thefts

A shopper loads supermarket plastic bags into boot of her car. Credit: Rui Vieira / PA Archive/PA Images

Police are warning women shoppers to be vigilant after five offences of distraction thefts in supermarket car parks in Devon and Cornwall.

Women have been targeted in Plymouth, Newton Abbot and Saltash while loading up their cars with shopping.

In each situation, a woman has been approached by a man asking for directions, usually to the local Post Office.

While the victim is distracted a male or female accomplice has then entered the car and stolen credit or debit cards from a handbag or purse.

None of the women were harmed but one victim was defrauded of £11,000 after her bank card was stolen.

We would ask women to be aware of this distraction technique which preys upon their good nature by asking for help with directions. This individual sounds very genuine and looks smart.

Police are advising female shoppers to lock other car doors and windows while they are loading their groceries and to keep their handbags and purses on them.

– Detective Sergeant Jamie Gilbert

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Dangerous fake Frozen toys seized in north Devon

Fake toys like these have been seized by Trading Standards in north Devon Credit: Trading Standards

Fake toys containing high chemical levels have been seized by Trading Standards in Barnstaple and Ilfracombe.

The toys, from the Disney film Frozen, could damage the reproductive system and increase the risk of cancer or asthma if they are chewed by children.

Parents are being asked to double check any products they buy for signs they might be fake.

Example of counterfeit Frozen costume Credit: Trading Standards

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Isles of Scilly face a 45 million pound bill to upgrade their water

Water bills on the Isles of Scilly could soar Credit: ITV News

Residents on the Isles of Scilly have been told they face a 45 million pound bill to upgrade their water and sewerage system - to bring them in line with European standards.

Leading councillors on the islands warned today about the impact on tourism - and said water bills could soar - unless alternative funding can be found.

The local council has written to every household on the islands about the proposals.

Christmas money worries for 1 in 4

More than a quarter of people in our region are worried about how they will afford Christmas this year, according to a new survey.

The Money Advice Service says almost a third of us will turn to credit cards to help fund our celebrations, while 1 in 25 will take out a payday loan.

It is urging shoppers to plan their festive spending carefully, including making a budget, comparing online and high street shops and looking for special offers.

Christmas shoppers should spend wisely Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Milk recalled in North Devon E.coli scare

Cow's milk produced at a North Devon farm is being recalled because of a potential link to an outbreak of E.coli

Barton Farm Dairy at Kentisbury, near Barnstaple, is recalling its raw cow’s drinking milk after two children, aged 10 and 12, fell ill with E coli 0157 infection two weeks ago. It is thought they may have drunk the product.

Food Standards Agency have issued a Product Recall Notice Credit: Food Standards Agency

The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Recall Information Notice and advised anyone who may have bought the product not to consume it.

Advice on Food Standards Agency website

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