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A BBC Inside Out West investigation has found an increasing number
of students in the Westcountry are turning to the sex
work to pay their debts.
As the cost of higher education has risen so has a new phenomenon
called sugar dating, Rachel Stonehouse reports.
The world of sugar dating is here.
It's a world where the woman are called sugar babies
and the men sugar daddies.
Look online and you'll find dozens of students posting adverts
for sugar relationships.
It is like online dating but with one big difference,
the man pays the woman for her company.
Coco has been doing this for two years.
She lives in a bedsit in Gloucester and dropped out
of her college course last year because she couldn't
afford the fees.
Is there an expectation that you will have sex at some
point with a sugar daddy.
I mean, for me, it's just like a normal relationship,
the only differences I get money.
Coco is one of a growing number of young people who are funding
their education this way.
A recent study by Swansea University found that 4.8% of UK students
were involved in the sex industry.
One psychologist is concerned about the impact of this.
As debt has mushroomed so has the proportion of people who now
openly admit to working in the sex industry.
And what's the response been from universities.
It's been really, kind of...
I wouldn't even go as far as to say it's ignored.
They try and brush it under the carpet, take no
notice of it, deny it.
Deny there is a problem.
We contacted all five universities in the Westcountry to find out
if they offered any help or advice for students involved in this.
Only one acknowledged students are working in the sex industry
but none had any support available for those who are.
Rachel Stonehouse, Points West, Gloucester.
And you can see the full report on sugar dating on Inside Out West
tomorrow night at 7.30 on BBC1.
The government is set to announce an ?8 million deal
with Leonardo Helicopters in Somerset to help develop
unmanned helicopter drones.
The Ministry of Defence will work with the company to see how
the technology could be used to support the military in future.
There was a rare chance to walk inside a canal
lock in Wiltshire today.
The lock at Bradford-on-Avon has been drained to allow
for major repairs.
Today, the Canal and River Trust invited the public to climb down
some temporary stairs into the chamber.
Bristol Rugby beat Bath 12-11 at Ashton Gate,
to record a vital win in their fight against relegation.
Gavin Henson kicked all 12 points for Bristol,
in his return from injury.
Semesa Rokoduguni scored the only try of the game for Bath,
but Rhys Priestland missed the conversion and Bristol held
on to move just two points behind Worcester in the Premiership table.
Henson was named man of the match.
I was a bit nervous.
I've been out for four months.
The last thing I want to do is get injured again.
The main thing I was thinking, just don't get injured.
But once you cross over the line you're straight into the zone.
I had to have a big performance today and so glad...
The boys played as well so a great day.
Bad news for Gloucester who lost 35-22 away to Wasps
who secured a bonus point.
The Cherry and Whites sit in ninth after the defeat,
and have lost their last five away games in the Premiership.
Finally, more than 400 students from across the UK have been
competing in the final of a national robotics competition
in Bristol today.
The First Lego League is a science and technology challenge
which runs across the world.
Teams of students aged between nine and 16 have to solve a real-world
problem with the help of a robot made from Lego.
Let's get the weather now with Emily Wood.
Some heavy showers to watch out for over the next couple of days.
We have some dry and clearer weather for a time tonight
and fairly breezy.
Showers will arrive by first thing tomorrow morning.
They will be on and off throughout the day with the risk of some hail
and thunder and it could turn wintry on high ground as well.
Some sunshine between the showers but it will feel cooler
and breezy through the day.
A bit more in the way of sunshine on Tuesday but locally
heavy showers around.
Some milder air on Wednesday but rain by the end of the day.
It looks dry on Thursday.
That's all from the Points West team for this evening.
We're back in Breakfast news tomorrow morning.
But for now, from me, a very goodnight.