Barnstaple’s crown court service - one of 86 to be axed across the UK - has not been used since 2012.

Barnstaple Crown Court will be closing, the Government had announced today (Thursday).

HM Courts and Tribunals Service today announced the closure of 86 court services across the UK.

No case has sat in Barnstaple Crown Court – with most cases being referred to Exeter – for four years.

However The Law Society stated in the consultation trials were listed to take place in Barnstaple next month due to a backlog of work in Exeter.

North Devon Magistrates Court is not affected.

Peter Heaton-Jones, MP for North Devon, said: ““The fact that there hasn’t been a Crown Court sitting in Barnstaple since 2012 means that today’s announcement will, in truth, have very little impact.

“Let’s remember that Barnstaple Crown Court does not actually exist as a stand-alone building or operation.

“When a Crown Court sitting was necessary in Barnstaple, all the people and papers involved used to be shipped up from Exeter and the case heard in one of the magistrate’s courts.

“But the last time that happened was four years ago, and for some time before that it was a very infrequent event.”

Mr Heaton-Jones said today’s announcement, which follows on from a consultation in July 2015, was a ‘tidying up exercise’.

He added: “What’s important to remember is that this does not affect Barnstaple Magistrates Court.

“For several years there had been fears that this was under threat, but I welcome the fact that the Ministry of Justice and HMCTS has recognised how important it is, and has no plans to change that at all.”