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Elderly woman conned out of life savings over the phone

Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Fraudsters are targeting elderly people in the West Country and duping them out of their life savings over the phone.

Police say the latest victim, a woman in her 80s from Totnes, was persuaded to hand over £6,000 because she was worried her bank account was at risk.

A man phoned her, saying he was from the Serious Fraud Department of the Metropolitan Police and that there had been security problems with her account. She was asked to withdraw her money, and was later persuaded to hand it over as 'evidence' to a female colleague who then visited later in the day.

Similar incidents reported in Devon in the last few days include a 76-year-old woman from Plympton, a man from Totnes and a 53-year-old woman from Torrington, who were all asked to hand over money but refused.

Police are warning that fraudsters will pretend to be calling from the bank or from the police, and will be incredibly convincing.

The latest scam is to ask the victim to transfer money through a foreign currency exchange.

Dartington Hall Trust considers housing refugees

Dartington Hall Trust in Totnes considers housing refugees

Dartington Hall Trust in Totnes says it 's considering housing refugees in Europe.

It says it could adapt old buildings to provide temporary houses to displaced families at the hall.

But says it wants to discuss with local groups to find the best response to the crisis.

The West Country unites to help refugees

Dozens of people from across the South West are rushing to donate money and goods to refugees caught up in the Syrian crisis.

Support groups are being set up, with people who want to help getting together to organise collections, donations and even journeys to mainland Europe to deliver aid.

Ghee Bowman, works for a group called 'Totnes & Exeter Calais Refugee Solidarity', and is helping raise awareness of the crisis and send supplies:


Devon MP wants 16 and 17-year-olds to vote on Europe

Sarah Wollaston speaking in parliament Credit: ITV News

Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston has spoken out in favour of giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote in the forthcoming EU referendum.

She was one of only three Conservatives to vote for the measure - which was eventually rejected. But she said that youngsters she met DID have the mental capacity to understand the issues.

The question is whether is we as a House have the capacity to actually change our view and to give them a voice and a vote. And I don't believe I could return to those schools in my constituency and look those young people in the eye and say that I denied them the opportunity.

– Sarah Wollaston MP Con, Totnes

Concerns Totnes rainbow crossing could confuse dementia sufferers

Totnes had a temporary rainbow crossing last year during its Pride event supporting LGBT rights. Credit: Proud2Be

A Devon town's plans for a rainbow zebra crossing supporting gay rights could have an uncertain future after fears it could cause hallucinations.

Medical experts have expressed concern that the brightly coloured crossing could have side-effects for people with Alzheimer's.

The Proud2Be group spearheading the campaign say they were told to seek expert advice, and received the following statement from a medical professor.

People with dementia might not recognize it as a safe crossing place, but that is no worse than the current position. DSDC always advises changing as little as possible in the environment of people with dementia, but we mean in their house and immediate environment, because there is evidence that this helps them.

We would never ask councils to preserve their town in historic form for the sake of the minority with dementia who might find change challenging.

– Professor June Andrews, Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), University of Stirling
Proud2Be say they do not want to affect anyone's quality of life. Credit: Proud2Be

We are thankful to Professor June Andrews for her expert opinion on the matter, as we would not want the crossing to impinge on anybody's quality of life or experience of Totnes. We are also working closely with Totnes Town Council and other community groups; to ensure that Europe's first permanent rainbow crossing can be enjoyed by the whole community.

– Mat Price, Proud2Be co-founder
Cities across Europe have had temporary rainbow crossings. Credit: Proud2Be

The group trialled a temporary crossing on Totnes High Street last year, as part of Totnes' second-ever Pride celebrations.

Cities such as London, Brighton and Sydney have all had temporary multi-coloured crossings, but if the Totnes plans go ahead the town would be the first in Europe to have a permanent one, joining Vancouver in Canada.

The proposed location of the crossing is on either side of the town's Wills Memorial. Local councillor Carol Wellwood said she believed this location was ideal.

If we had a rainbow crossing on either side of the memorial it would help safety, encourage diversity and give people a real sense of fun.

– Carol Wellwood, Totnes Town Councillor

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.

Council to appeal Totnes 'one way' system decision

Devon County Council is to appeal against a High Court decision to make it reverse a one way system in Totnes in South Devon. Opponents of the scheme, which has been in place for two years, say it's damaged businesses and put off visitors.

Hundreds of protesters marched against the new Totnes traffic scheme Credit: Credit: ITV News

But now the Council is to challenge the decision after what it calls 'a wave of public support' for the changes. The Sustainable Totnes Action Group has criticised the move, condemning it as a waste of tax payers' money.

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