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Totnes pound heads into cyber space

Totnes pounds being printed - could the paper version be taken over? Credit: ITV Westcountry

A new app will allow people to pay for goods and services in Totnes pounds using their smart phones.

The town has had its own currency for several years, encouraging people to trade locally.

The phone app has been developed by the team running the more recent Bristol pound, which has been taken up by 500 traders.

PCC blasts 'horrendous harm' caused by alcohol

"I am afraid we live in a society where people are less willing to take responsibility for their own actions and their impact on others and now it is clearly time for everyone in the South West to take responsibility for their own use of alcohol.

"For many months I have spoken about the horrendous harm caused by the misuse of alcohol and these figures illustrate, in the starkest possible light, the staggering human cost: 314,000 alcohol related hospital admissions and 758 people dead – through drink, in a single year are simply not acceptable.

"These avoidable demands are being met by the public at large – the costs of caring for, and the harm caused by, drunks is being paid for by many who never drink in anything other than moderation.

"So on most evenings our casualty units are full of drunken men and women injured through fighting, after falling down drunk or being beaten by a drunken partner at home.

"The excessive burden on the police, the ambulance service, on doctors and nurses has to change. If tax-payers want the police to protect their homes and their children they cannot be expected to spend time clearing up the mess left from drunken binges."

– Tony Hogg, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner

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Alcohol abuse costs our hospitals £91 million a year

Hospital admissions triggered by alcohol abuse cost the West Country taxpayer an estimated £91 million in one year, according to a new report.

New “alcohol harm maps” show more than 300,000 people were admitted to Devon and Cornwall hospitals in 2012-13 because of alcohol misuse.

The analysis by campaign group Alcohol Concern also showed that deaths of 758 people in Devon and Cornwall that year were alcohol-related.

Cheap alcohol for sale. Credit: PA
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Two women jailed for multi-million pound scam

Two pensioners have each been jailed for six months for their part in a multi-million pound pyramid investment scheme.

Thousands of women across the region were asked to pay three thousand pounds each in the so-called Give and Take scheme, that promised handsome returns to women.

But 90 per cent of those who paid in lost money.

Growing demand for foodbank in Taunton

Stocks are running low at Taunton Foodbank Credit: ITV Westcountry

There's been a big rise in the number of people relying on the Taunton foodbank.

Organisers say their stocks are already low because families have not had access to free school meals during the summer holidays. Some people have even walked the seven miles from Wellington and back because they are so desperate for help.

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Exeter pound to be unveiled today

The Totnes pound has already been in circulation for some years - soon it could be Exeter pounds off the press Credit: ITV Westcountry

The Exeter Pound will be unveiled today, with a view to launching the currency in autumn next year.

It's based on similar systems in Totnes and elsewhere. It'll be used alongside sterling and aims to focus spending more on independent producers, keeping more money in the local economy.

What is a 'pyramid scheme'?

Nine women have been convicted of masterminding a 'pyramid scheme' that conned 10,000 investors out of over £20 million.

How it worked:

The scheme operated around pyramid charts with 15 spaces on.

Each space was filled by a participant who paid £3000 who then had to introduce two friends who also paid that amount.

Once the chart was filled the 8 people at the bottom paid their £3000 to the person on top - who was called the 'bride' and after answering a series of simple questions was handed the £24,000 minus a £1000 fee split between charities (£600) and the committee (£400).

At this stage the pyramid splits allowing two new brides to move to the top of the pyramid and as long as new people keep joining this process continues. However in order for the Bristol scheme to be sustainable, every man, woman and child in the UK would have needed to take part.

'Pyramid' scheme cons thousands in the West Country

Nine women have been found guilty of masterminding a 'pyramid' scheme, convincing thousands of people to invest money.

The Pyramid scheme saw victims across the West Country hand over money, which most never got anything back.

The women held recruitment parties in Burnham on Sea to get people to sign.

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