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Good evening. BBC Two, and that
What remains of the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter is due to bd
Tonight, the facade of the historic building is still standing , just.
It was destroyed in a fire which began in a neighbouring
The fire service is now working to establish the exact causd.
The hotel's owners say they have every intention
In a moment, we'll be hearing about the wider impact on Exeter,
Today began the first week hn 2 0 years without the Royal Clarence
Hotel standing proud in the heart of Exeter.
Plans are being drawn up to
demolish much of the remains of the building, but for now
the cordons around Cathedral Green and part of
We are really aware that businesses are
deeply affected by this incident and the public
of Exeter, they want to
come back and use the green and so we will try and get everythhng back
It is now three days since the fire destroyed hundreds of years of
Police officers have been called in from
around Devon to staff the cordons and the Chief Constable has thanked
the public for their patience and understanding.
They allowed us to get on with what we had to do, they
allowed us that opportunity to be professional, but if ever the public
were professional, they were professional
that we needed for time and space and those cordons
We have had the odd incident, but funnily enough it's
been the public who sorted out the people who have been a bit
foolish on the cordons, more than we have had
They have been remarkable and I would like to thank them through
Spotlight for what they havd done, because I haven't seen that for a
A team of demolition enginedrs have arrived on scene.
They face quite a challenge as our filming from a Fire Service aerial
Hundreds of tonnes of debris litter the shell
of what was one of Exeter's finest hotels.
Excavators are expected on
site tomorrow with demolition work likely to begin,
contractors say, in
Engineers have not been abld to get into the innards of
the hotel yet, it is just too dangerous and too unstable.
As to how long it will take to clear up the mess,
they are unwilling to put a precise figure on it, but the
Cordons are respected to relain for tomorrow at least,
although the Fire Service hope they can be reduced in
And today at last came a little positive news about the Roy`l
One of the structural enginders told me he believed the
ground floor exterior, backdrop to the photographs
of so many weddings, graduations and other memor`ble
The BBC understands that a large excavator will arrive at thd scene
first thing in the morning to begin the clear-up operation.
Devon and Somerset's Fire Chief told us it's too early to say
We are not ruling anything out at this stage, however,
we do know there was refurbhshment work taking place in the gallery
and that is our starting pohnt, but at the same time,
we will be reviewing CCTV footage, we will be looking to speak
to eyewitnesses and gain as much information as possible just
to understand what was happdning and what led to such a signhficant
The fire has had a major impact on Exeter itself,
with many roads and shops still closed today.
Janine Jansen reports now on the effect it has had
Normally a magnet for shoppers, but today,
The Chamber of Commerce says there was a 25% drop
in the number of people vishting the shops on Saturday.
We are moving into that important time of the year
which is crucial for retaildrs, it's where they make most
of their money for the whold year, over the Christmas period.
We need to be open and we nded to get that message
across to the public that Exeter is open for business.
Exeter's high street has bedn closed since Friday,
but around 20 shops have bedn allowed to reopen.
However, this section remains closed.
Businesses are anxious to fhnd out when they can reopen.
Local businesses mourn the loss but want lives to get
The owner of this shoe shop says she has been closed
We are obviously very, very keen to open and trade
and bring the business back to the city and get back to normal
It's very, very tragic what has happened and I am used to going out
of the shop every day and looking up at that beautiful building
and sadly it won't be there, but everybody seems to be
doing their best to get things back to normal.
Right now we can't open, so we're having to turn trade away,
so we are losing money, still having to pay staff's wages
so there is a big impact on the business.
The simple message in this local cake shop window sums up
I think that everyone has bden just poleaxed by the whole fire
and everyone is so emotional about it and everyone wants to do
something and we don't know what we can do,
It's sad to see part of our history go.
A dreadful scene, I can't believe it has happened.
A gang that forced vulnerable people from Eastern Europe to live
in cupboards and garages, pay to use the toilet and forage
in bins for food have been jailed at Plymouth Crown Court.
Five Czech nationals were ghven prison sentences between two and six
and a half years for trafficking vulnerable fellow countrymen
The judge - who recommended they are deported after prison
said the gang "crushed the human spirit" of their victims.
They were vulnerable and they were abused.
People from the underbelly of the Czech Republic brought
to houses like this one and forced to live in squalid conditions.
Some slept in cupboards or garages, foraging in bins for food,
required to pay a pound to use the toilet.
These are the five Czech nationals who could well have trafficked over
Today at Plymouth Crown Court, they were jailed for between two
Sentencing, Judge Ian Lawrid QC told the five that what seemed to have
escaped them was this, that the offences centred around
the crushing of the human spirit and the stripping away of a person's
The gang said they were helping those struggling
in the Czech Republic, but the court heard they helped
themselves to the earnings of their victims, described
If they complained, they were threatened.
One man was beaten with a b`seball bat and had to make his
The defendants are guilty of the organised exploitation
and manipulation of a number of vulnerable victims
They cynically targeted people who might not immediately
They were then treated as commodities to be used however
They were forced to live in squalid conditions whilst being put to work
to pay off imaginary debts they had been told they had incurred.
At the heart of this investhgation was always the victims.
I'm glad to say they are now living independent lives.
Some of them chose to remain in the UK, some of them chose
to return back to the Czech Republic.
The judge said he would be recommending that the five
members of the gang be deported after prison.
Very warm for Halloween. And unusually warm. Temperatures have
been well above where they should be for this time of year. Therd is the
chance of more of that list and fog developing, some of that has started
to develop now and there is more to come. We do have a change. Ht starts
to get colder, it is mostly dry but with winds developing from the north
or North West into the weekdnd, it will feel quite a bit cooler.
Temperatures to date up to 08, 9 degrees. It is getting colddr so
make the most of the warmth. Fog is a problem tomorrow morning `nd later
on tonight, and first tomorrow, it is a tricky drive to work. @ weather
front arriving tomorrow. A band of cloud opens the door to colder
conditions. Then high presstre takes over just for a while, another
weather front arrives through the night Thursday and then into Friday
morning, this one introducing more persistent rain and into thd
weekend, we have lost the area of high pressure and regain brhsk
northerly winds, lower tempdratures and for all of us, it will feel more
like autumn with a strong northerly wind. Like twins tonight and the
mist and fog developing by the morning. Night-time temperatures
between five and 7 degrees. Some of that fog sleuths who tear -, slow to
clear. There isn't a great deal on it and not as warm as today. 15 16
degrees. On Wednesday it is called a still. Wednesday we could start the
day with frost and colder towards the end of the week and drunkenly
more uncertain. That is it for now. Join us tomorrow morning but from
the late team, have a good night. Goodbye.