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  1. Updates on Friday 9 January 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Good evening

That's all from Local Live for today. We will be back from 08:00 on Monday.

Match facts: Reading v Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough have lost only one of their last 12 games in all competitions. Their only defeat since 21 October was 2-0 at Ipswich in the Championship on 20 December.

Reading won the earlier meeting this season 1-0 at the Riverside Stadium in August. Middlesbrough's last win at Reading was 2-0 in October 2009.

Busy day for brigade

Firefighters from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said they attended eight weather-related incidents this morning when winds were at their strongest.

Selkirk Street, Jarrow
Shields Gazette

They included Selkirk Street, Jarrow, where the outer part of the gable end of a house fell down, and a partial collapse of a gable end in Runcorn Road, Sunderland.

Group manager John Allison said: "The high winds caused damage to a number of properties which could have put the safety of the public at risk. Thankfully no-one has been injured in any of these incidents."

Match facts: Chelsea v Newcastle

Newcastle have won four of their last six league matches against Chelsea, but both their defeats came in their last two meetings at Stamford Bridge.

The Magpies could do the top-flight double against Chelsea for the first time since 1986-87, but they have won just twice in their last eight league games.

United have scored the highest proportion of second-half goals in the Premier League (76%).

Ex-Falcon May to retire

BBC Sport

London Welsh team captain and former Newcastle Falcons and England international Tom May

is to retire at the end of the season.

Centre May, 35, joined Welsh in 2013 and led them to promotion via the Championship play-offs last season.

He began his professional career at Falcons, making his debut in March 1999, and went on to play for Toulon before joining Northampton.

"It's a tough decision to make because I've been playing for quite a while and it's what I've grown up knowing," said May, who has two England caps.

Barbour 'baffled' over staff strikes

Julie Cush

BBC News

Bosses at clothing firm Barbour say they are "baffled" by staff striking over proposed new, late-night shifts, at its Gateshead warehouse.

Members of Unite are staging a series of month-long strikes in protest at the new shift ending at 22:30.

Barbour warehouse

But company spokeswoman, Brenda Readman-Bell, said she was "baffled" by the action as talks with workers had been ongoing since May.

Striking workers claim the shift will "wreck" their home lives. The proposed shifts are 07:00 to 15:00 and 14:30 to 22:30. The firm says they include a "substantial pay increase".

Black Cats set for Liverpool clash

Nick Barnes

BBC Newcastle commentator

The furry headphones are primed for Sunderland versus Liverpool at the Stadium of Light tomorrow.

Nick Barnes' commentary notes for Sunderland v Liverpool

The game kicks off at 12:45 and

BBC Sport has the latest team news here.

Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole is struggling with a groin injury, while Jack Rodwell will be given a fitness test on a hamstring problem.

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Tributes paid to former BBC man

Hartlepool Mail

Tributes have been paid

to a former BBC broadcaster whose voice graced the airwaves of local radio for more than 20 years.

Bill Hunter
Hartlepool Mail

Bill Hunter, who worked for the BBC station in Middlesbrough when it was known as Radio Teesside and later Radio Cleveland, died in Hartlepool & District Hospice on Wednesday. He was 87.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 16:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: An increasing number of rogue traders are trying to target homeowners in Hartlepool, according to trading standards officers.
  • BBC Newcastle: Jon Harle and Anne Leuchars have a round-up of today's news.

Boro head south to Reading

Middlesbrough are at Reading tomorrow in the Sky Bet Championship. Royals captain Jem Karacan could make his first appearance in 16 months after recovering from a knee injury.

Anton Ferdinand and Pavel Pogrebnyak are both out with calf injuries and Hope Akpan's shoulder problem rules him out again.

The match at the Madejski Stadium kicks off at 15:00. You can watch highlights on The Football League Show; listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Tees or keep up to date with text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Man sought over attack on bus

Police are hunting this man after a teenager was assaulted on a bus in Sunderland.

CCTV of bus attacker
Northumbria Police

The 18-year-old victim was travelling on a bus in Hall Farm Road when he was approached by another man and headbutted at 19:40 on 6 December.

Sissoko plays down transfer talk

Chris Conway

BBC Newcastle

Newcastle United's Moussa Sissoko

has tweeted today saying: "I am a professional player and I remain focused on my team NUFC #dontlistentorumours."

Moussa Sissoko

The 25-year-old has been linked with a £20m move to Arsenal or French club PSG.

He has previously expressed his desire to play Champions League football.

Winds causing problems on A66

Strong winds mean the A66 in County Durham is closed to high-sided vehicles between the A67 junction in Bowes and the A685 junction in Brough,

BBC Travel News reports.

There is severe disruption in both directions.

Black Cats to put defence first

Mark Lawrenson

Football analyst

"Sunderland's starting position under Gus Poyet is to be difficult to beat and not to give away any stupid early goals.

"Liverpool's problems are still obvious - defensively, including the goalkeeper, and up front."

My prediction: 1-1.

See my other predictions for this weekend's Premier League games here.

Gritter crews 'on standby'

Gateshead Council

tweets: All our gritter crews on standby this weekend after Met Office forecast possible ice and snow for Saturday evening/Sunday morning.

Archbishop: We must not give in to fear

The Archbishop of Canterbury was at Durham Cathedral today ahead of receiving an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the city's university.

The Most Rev Justin Welby

The Most Rev Justin Welby, formerly the Bishop of Durham, spoke out in support of free speech

following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris earlier this week.

He said: "This is a moment for courage."

Where does the water cash flow?

Inside Out returns to BBC One on Monday at 19:30. The team will be looking at Northumbrian Water and asking: "Who really owns the water that comes out of our taps and why does the profit flow out of the North East to the Far East?"

Inside Out graphic

They will also have the story of 'slumdog medic' Robin Sengupta who sold fruit as a child to fund his education and went on to become a leading brain surgeon in Newcastle. He's now created a neuroscience hospital in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).

If you miss it you can catch up here.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 15:00 include:

My prediction on Blues v NUFC

Mark Lawrenson

Football analyst

"This is a tough game for Newcastle's caretaker manager John Carver because I expect Chelsea to be back to business as usual after their defeat by Tottenham in their last league game.

"I do not see the Magpies causing the Chelsea defence the same sort of problems as Spurs did."

My prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle.

See more of my predictions for this weekend's games by clicking here.

Krul back between the posts

Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul will replace Jak Alnwick in the starting line-up for tomorrow's game against Chelsea after proving his fitness in a practice match,

BBC Sport reports.

Tim Krul in action
Getty Images

Leading goalscorer Papiss Cisse and midfielder Cheick Tiote are both on Africa Cup of Nations duty.

United recorded a memorable victory against the Londoners at St James' Park just over a month ago and will be hoping for a repeat of that standout performance.

New appeal over hotel rape

Police investigating a rape in Newcastle have released an image of a man they want to speak to.

Man police want to speak to in connection with Newcastle city centre rape
Northumbria Police

A 21-year-old woman reported she had been attacked at an unnamed city centre hotel in the early hours of Monday, 22 December. Northumbria Police said she left the building at about 05:30.

Tree toppled by gusts

The strong winds earlier uprooted this tree in Thornlea Gardens, Low Fell, Gateshead.

Fallen tree, Low Fell, Gateshead, by Adam Nolan
Adam Nolan

Thanks to Adam Nolan for sending it to us. Did you get any photos of the disruption caused by the weather? Send them to us by

email, tweet us
@BBCNewsNE or join our
Facebook page.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

East Coast disruption cleared

East Coast Trains

tweets: Disruption caused by a broken down train between Morpeth and Alnmouth for Alnwick has now ended. Services are no longer affected by this.

More on the Barbour dispute

Mark Denten

Political Correspondent, BBC North East & Cumbria

Union leaders at Barbour claim the firm's warehouses have been in "chaos" as strike action takes place over new shift patterns the company wants to introduce.

But the clothing firm says its warehouses are running well and adds only 10% of workers are staging industrial action over the plans to introduce shifts which finish at 22:30.

You can see more in my report on Look North here.

Listen to our Pardew interview

Listen to Alan Pardew's full interview with BBC Newcastle's Mick Lowes where he talks about his relationship with the fans and owner Mike Ashley.

Pardew says: "For everything that has been said and done I had a good relationship with him. Of course we had some bumps, but publicly I am not going to criticise him in any shape or form.

Pardew pic

"Privately I'm trying to push for players or change this or that. Sometimes I won, sometimes I lost."

'No growth in north-south gap'

BBC Breakfast

Chancellor George Osborne was on the programme this morning.

George Osbourne

He was answering questions about the economy in the north of England. "We need to make sure we have a truly national economy," he said. "We don't accept in this country that the gap between the north and south grows."

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

Labour group 'at war with itself'

A key electoral town's Labour group is "at war with itself", it is claimed.

The Redcar branch in Teesside was reviewed by the party in 2012 after complaints of bullying and physical intimidation between members.

But branch members said the situation had now become even worse.

Labour North said changes were already being made, with the party keen to win the constituency back from the Liberal Democrats in the General Election.

Accident on the A19

The A19 in Wolviston, County Durham, is blocked with stationary traffic northbound from the A689 junction to the Dalton Lodge junction.

It's due to a "multi-vehicle accident", BBC Travel reports.

New sponsor for Great North Run

Supermarket chain Morrisons has taken over as the sponsor of the Great Run Series, replacing Bupa who had backed it for 22 years.

Broadcaster and former Olympic medallist Brendan Foster created the Great North Run in 1981 and it has grown to be the second biggest half-marathon in the world.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

Tino soaks up the sun

After the bad weather we saw this morning, it looks like former Newcastle United striker Tino Asprilla has opted for warmer climes.

Earlier he tweeted this photo of himself at the beach:

Tino Asprilla at the beach

Clean-up time in Seaham

Russell Ward

BBC Newcastle

Strong winds caused this damage in Seaham, County Durham, this morning.

Damage to house in Seaham, County Durham, caused by strong winds