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Plastic bags pose a risk to our marine habitat

Plastic bags can smother plants like seaweed Credit: Dr Dannielle Green

Researchers at Plymouth University have shown the damage discarded plastic bags can have on our marine life.

A study lasting just nine weeks revealed that the bags, whether biodegradable or not, smothered life on the sea bed by stopping oxygen and sunlight from getting through. As a result animals living on coral reefs could be strongly affected and even wiped out altogether.

West Country food banks see 20% rise in users

Over 38,000 children needed food from a West Country food bank in the last year Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

More than 100,000 people in the region have had to resort to food banks in the past year.

The Trussell Trust says numbers of those in need have risen a fifth in the past year demonstrating that, despite economic recovery, a growing number of people are in crisis. 106,292 people received three days' emergency food from the charity in the last year - the equivalent to double the population of Weymouth. Of those, over a third were children.


West Country war veterans aim for world title

The team compete in the World Pilot Gig Racing Championships next month Credit: ITV West Country

A team of injured war veterans from the West Country have set their sights on the World Pilot Gig Racing Championships.

The six-strong crew are all being rehabilitated at Plymouth's Help for Heroes Recovery Centre. They've only competed in one race so far but they have high hopes for the competition off the Isles of Scilly next month.

Totnes campaigners celebrate one-way traffic victory

Campaigners claimed the one-way system was killing trade Credit: ITV News Westcountry

Campaigners in Totnes are celebrating victory in their battle over a controversial one way scheme. The judge at the High Court in Exeter ordered the system to be reversed after being told it was killing trade in the town.

Devon County Council will have to switch the traffic back to its original direction, unless the Court of Appeal approves a stay of judgment in the next few days.

Devonport gun salute for Queen's birthday

The Queen visited Devonport last month Credit: ITV News Westcountry

A 21-gun salute will be fired in Devonport today for the Queen's birthday. The rounds will be fired at noon by the Royal Navy's armoury team on board HMS Drake's Quarterdeck.

The Queen visited Devonport Naval Base in Plymouth last month for the first time in five years. All the ships at Devonport Naval Base will raise their flags to mark the event - which is known as 'dressing overall'.


Paralysed Plymouth graduate makes award-winning documentary

Jonathan Brough was left paralysed by meningitis Credit: ITV News Westcountry

A Plymouth University graduate has become an international award winning documentary maker - despite not being able to hold a camera.

Jonathan Brough was left paralysed from the neck down after contracting meningitis on his gap year. But he didn't let the disease hold him back and created a project documenting his life after meningitis.

His film 'Perseverance Beyond Doubt' won an Award of Merit in the Best Short Films Competition. The 16 minute film tells the story of his efforts to cope with the effects of meningitis.

Last year, despite his disability and the fact he requires round the clock care, he fulfilled his dream of pursuing his studies and achieved a First in BA (Hons) Media Arts at Plymouth University.

“It was a privilege for my film to have been chosen for consideration let alone to win an award. I want my story to show how it’s not the disability that defines you but who you are and the way you approach life. My films are a message of positivity and hope which proves how disability doesn’t have to be limited by what we think we can or cannot do.”

– Jonathan Brough

Orangutans at home on the tightrope

Orangutans in Paington Zoo have been treating visitors to an extra special show - by walking a tightrope.

Take a look at some of the pictures below which show Mali and her toddler Tatau balancing 20ft above the ground:

Not exactly a walk in the park... Credit: Paignton Zoo
Mali uses her long arms to balance Credit: Paignton Zoo
Two year old Tatau was also getting the hang of things Credit: Paignton Zoo
Lending a helping hand Credit: Paignton Zoo

Young girls "locked in bedrooms" because step-father is convicted paedophile

Devon County Council is monitoring the situation after a court decision approved the measures Credit: ITV News

Two young girls are believed to be locked in their bedrooms every night so their mother can continue her relationship with a convicted paedophile.

Devon County Council is monitoring the situation after a court decision approved the measures.

The girls, who are both under 13, are left with a baby monitor in case they need to contact their mum at night. A charity has raised concerns about the situation.

Jon Brown, NSPCC Devon Credit: ITV News

We are concerned about it at the NSPCC. It does seem although the decision that has been made by Children's Services and other organisations appears to be weighted way too much I favour of the offender and his partner, the children's mother, and not in favour of the children. We know that sex offenders can be devious and can be manipulative and frankly will be able to get their way round the sort of safeguards that have been put in place".

– Jon Brown, NSPCC Devon
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