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Dartmoor farmer allowed cannabis to be grown on land

John Shears has admitted allowing his land on Dartmoor to be used to grow cannabis Credit: Irving of Exeter

A former chairman of the Devon National Farmers Union has admitted allowing his land on Dartmoor to be used to grow cannabis.

John Shears has denied a second charge of producing the drug at his farm and now faces a trial at Exeter Crown Court next year.

Police seized 189 plants at the farm in May - capable of producing drugs worth thousands of pounds.

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Father blames social services over Haytor deaths

Katherine Hooper with her children Credit: Family

A grieving father has told ITV News West Country his two young sons would still be alive if social services had recognised the risks they faced from their mother.

Katherine Hooper killed herself and her five-year-old son Joshua when she jumped from Haytor in July 2013. Her other son Samuel was found dead at the family home a few miles away in Paignton.

A serious case review released today found that the deaths "could not have been avoided" but said the agencies involved in the care of the boys could have worked more closely together.

You can watch Seth Conway's report below.

Haytor deaths "could not have been avoided"

A Serious Case Review has been published into the deaths of a mother and her two children who died in Devon last year. Katherine Hooper killed herself and her five year old son Joshua when she jumped from Haytor with him of her shoulders in July 2013. Police later found her two year year old Samuel dead at the family home in Paignton.

Katherine Hooper with her children Credit: ITV News West Country

Today a report into the handling of the case by Torbay Social Services has been published. It's concluded that the deaths "could not have been avoided" but has highlighted areas from improvement. These include closer working between different agencies and making sure that effective supervision is available for staff involved in Safeguarding work.

The finding have been welcomed by the The Independent Chair of Torbay Safeguarding Children’s Board, David Taylor. He said “This was a very tragic event and I would like to reassure everyone that the Safeguarding Board and all its partners take the recommendations in this review extremely seriously.

“As the review states these deaths could not have been avoided, but we can always improve on what we do. As such, the Board will continue to review and raise the quality of practice in Torbay to ensure partner agencies continue to improve their integrated working." An inquest in September had concluded that Katherine Hooper had killed herself and unlawfully killed Joshua. It returned an open verdict on Samuel.

Crowd-funding bid to save Dartmoor Zoo

Dartmoor Zoo looks after a wide range of wild and exotic animals from tigers to tortoises Credit: ITV News

The man who inspired the Hollywood film 'We Bought A Zoo' is turning to crowd-funding to save Dartmoor Zoo.

Benjamin Mee bought the tourist attraction following the death of his wife Katherine in 2006.

Cinema posters for the film based on the story of Dartmoor Zoo Credit: ITV News

His memoir about how he transformed the fortunes of the dilapidated zoo was later turned into a movie. Now he plans to turn the zoo into a charity - with help from the public.

He has set up a crowdfunding page to help him raise the £1.6million needed. You can find out more here.

4 hour rescue for missing Kayakers

Emergency services involved in 4 hour rescue for missing Kayakers Credit: Dartmoor Search & Rescue

South Devon's emergency services were involved in a four-hour rescue operation last night after two kayakers went missing on Dartmoor. Police were called to the Upper Dart Gorge at around twenty to nine. The kayakers were eventually found around midnight beside the river below Lucky Tor. One had a minor shoulder injury.

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Suicide verdict in inquest into death of mother at Haytor

Katherine Hooper with her two sons

A coroner has recorded a verdict of suicide on a woman from Paignton who's body was found at the bottom of Haytor Rocks in July of last year.

Katherine Hooper was found alongside her five year old son Joshua. A verdict of unlawful killing was recorded on his death. The body of her two year old son Sam was subsequently found at the family home. An open verdict was recorded on his death.

Inquest into death of mother and two sons at Haytor

Katherine Hooper and her two sons died last July

An inquest takes place today into the death of Katherine Hooper who was found at the bottom of Haytor Rocks in July of last year.

The body of her five year old son Joshua was alongside her. The body of her younger son, Sam, was subsequently discovered at the family home in Paignton. He was two years old. The inquest takes place at the Palace Hotel in Torquay.

Holidaymaker found dead on Dartmoor

Search teams have found the body of a holidaymaker who failed to return from a walk on Dartmoor. Family and friends of the 67 year-old man had reported him missing last night.

The Dartmoor Rescue Group backed by a helicopter from RAF Kinloss made the discovery in the early hours near Scarey Tor, in the Belstone area just a few miles from Okehampton.

Police say there appear to be no suspicious circumstances.

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