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Man charged after residents evacuated in explosives threat

A man has been charged with unlawful possession of explosives after homes in North Devon were evacuated for 24 hours.

Police and a military explosives team were called to an address on Osbourne Road in Illfracombe on Friday. Officers say there is no evidence linking the incident to terrorism or extremism.

A 41 year old man is due in court on Monday.

I would like to thank the residents of Osborne Road and that locality for their patience and understanding over the past 2 days.

We had to rehouse a number of residents for two nights until we were sure that the area was safe. The search was long and painstaking but it was essential that those involved in it had the time needed to ensure no one came to harm. I am pleased to be able to reassure everyone that there is no ongoing risk to anyone in the area.

– Inspector Roger Bartlett


Police hunt suspected raider who wore 'Scream' mask

The suspect was wearing a Scream mask Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Police in Devon are investigating an attempted ram raid at a chemists in Ilfracombe in which the driver wore a Scream mask.

A stolen gold Volvo estate was driven into Lloyds Pharmacy on the High Street just before 5 am on Tuesday 31 May.

Officers say the damaged car was found in the area but the suspect has not yet been traced.

Damien Hirst's restaurant criticised by hygiene inspectors

Inspectors said the restaurant had dirty drains and stored raw meat unsafely. Credit: ITV West Country

Damien Hirst's restaurant in Ilfracombe has been criticised by hygiene inspectors who gave it a rating of just one-star.

The Quay in Ilfracombe was told it needs improvement after officials described filthy drains and raw meat being stored unsafely.

The Quay responded to the criticism. Credit: ITV West Country

A spokesperson for The Quay said the issues raised have been resolved.

"We take health and hygiene at the Quay extremely seriously. There were two issues raised during this recent inspection.

First, was a failure to comply with the required paperwork. We have already taken steps to rectify this and are working hard to make sure we keep up to date with paperwork in the future.

Second, was a disused drainage pipe, located in a storage room underneath the kitchen. The drainage pipe had passed previous inspections but we were asked to fill it in, and this has now been done. We were also asked to separate vacuum-packed meat from ready-to-eat food in our freezer, which we have now done."

– Spokesperson for The Quay


Pigeon covered in cooking oil gets washing up liquid bath

Oil can be very dangerous if it gets on birds' feathers. Credit: RSPCA

A pigeon found covered in cooking oil has had a much needed bath at RSPCA West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton.

The adult pigeon was found in Ilfracombe harbour in Devon with his feathers coated in vegetable oil - which can be very dangerous.

RSPCA veterinary nurse Natalie Stahl said: “Oil can be incredibly damaging to birds – affecting their plumage and their ability to stay warm and dry.".

Her team used normal washing-up liquid and warm water to help remove the sticky oil - thought it took a number of baths to clean the pigeon up and bring him back to full health.

"This poor pigeon has really been through the wars."

– Natalie Stahl, RSPCA veterinary nurse

The centre is hoping to release him back into the wild in the coming weeks.

Consultation looks at halving the number of community beds in North Devon

Consultation looks at halving the number of community beds in North Devon Credit: ITV News

A consultation is underway on proposals to halve the number of community hospital beds in North Devon to help save £11 million.

The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has come up with options, including losing two of the four community hospitals at Bideford, Holsworthy, Ilfracombe and South Molton.

It says it can look after significantly more patients at home than in hospital.

Campaigners start project to clean up region's beaches

A project to improve bathing water quality at two of the region's beaches has been launched today.

Wildersmouth at Ilfracombe in North Devon and Porth in Newquay, Cornwall are predicted to fail the latest bathing water tests.

The charity Surfers Against Sewage has been working with the Environment Agency on a Cleaner Coastal Catchment Initiative to improve the water standards.

It involves working with local residents, businesses and land owners to change their practices.

The solutions with the cleaner coastal catchment are really simple, it's things like never use the toilet as a wet bin, think before you flush, don't put fats, oils and greases down the sink.

For farmers it's about improving land management practices, so keeping cattle out of streams, and keeping pollution from the run off of the land out of those streams as well.

– Andy Cummins, Surfers against Sewage

With it's central position, the town's Mayor says it's vital to get a good bathing water rating at Wildersmouth or visitors will be put off.

Ilfracombe is here because of the beaches and because of the sea, and if we lose some of the quality of that then we lose a little bit of Ilfracombe. That's the reason it developed in lots of ways because the Victorians found it a wonderful place to come on holiday and lots of other people have as well, so we need it to be clean.

– George Squires, Mayor of Ilfracombe

Watch the full report by Kathy Wardle here:

Stop pouring fat down the drain, say beach campaigners

Ilfracombe is one of the beaches under scrutiny. Credit: Suzy Harrison/Press Association Images

Campaigners are trying clean up two beaches in Devon and Cornwall to stop them being branded unsafe for swimming.

Ilfracombe and Porth are both predicted to fail strict Environment Agency quality controls next year. Surfers Against Sewage are urging people not to throw items down the toilet and to stop pouring fat down the drain.

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