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Summary

  1. Updates on Wednesday 7 January 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Good evening

That's all for Local Live today. We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday with all your news, sport, travel and weather. But we leave you with this photo from our archives of the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough.

Workers scaling the bridge in the 1950s
Teesside Archives

It was revealed today the reopening is being delayed again, but the bridge itself is made of hardy stuff.

It has survived German bombing raids, and been featured on TV and in films. In 1985 it was awarded a Grade II listing, and if you had a head for heights you could get a good view from the top, like these workers scaling it did in the 1950s.

Nissan celebrating another good year

Some more details on the new car figures we brought you this morning - Nissan says its Sunderland plant built more than 500,000 vehicles for the third year running.

It says 500,237 cars were built in 2014, of which some 17,000 were the new electric Leaf. The firm added the factory will start production of the new Infiniti Q30 in the second half of this year.

Nissan Infinity Q30
Nissan

On the programme tonight

BBC Look North

The first British-made washing machine for more than 10 years is close to rolling off a County Durham production line. Newton Aycliffe-based Ebac hopes to launch the range in the spring, a move that could help to create 150 jobs.

We'll have full details on this and more on tonight's Look North at 18:30 on BBC One,

or catch up here.

'Reformed' burglar returns to crime

The Chronicle

Newspaper

A burglar who vowed to turn his back on crime after meeting one of his victims

is back behind bars after stealing from a church.

Martin Gilbert
The Chronicle

Junior and mini runs to return

The Junior and Mini Great North Runs will return this year, it has been announced.

Six thousand young runners are expected to take part in what is now the biggest children's running event in the country, which offers 1.5km and 4km distances for ages 3-8 and 9-16 respectively.

The events start on Saturday 12 September before the Great North Run itself the following day.

Mo Farah
Getty Images

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 17:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: A man has described how masked men threatened him and his young daughters with a knife during an armed robbery at his home in Stockton.
  • BBC Newcastle: Jon Harle and Anne Leuchars have a round-up of the day's news.

Drink-driver's ban suspended

Sunderland Echo

A taxi driver convicted of drink-driving

has been allowed to stay on the roads, despite being caught almost three times the legal alcohol limit.

Christopher Bateman
Sunderland Echo

Spanning the Tees

We've changed our banner image to this shot of the Transporter Bridge across the River Tees in Middlesbrough, after news emerged the reopening has been delayed yet again.

Our photographic archive says this photo was taken on 17 September 1902. But since the bridge was built in 1911, this seems unlikely.

Transporter Bridge
Getty Images

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 16:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Fed-up residents have launched a petition to try to get a former drop-in centre in Consett knocked down because it has become a magnet for antisocial behaviour.
  • BBC Tees: An inquest has heard the death of a solicitor found stabbed through the heart in County Durham remains a mystery.

BreakingOpen verdict in stab case death

A coroner in County Durham has recorded an open verdict into the death of a solicitor

who was found with multiple stab wounds.

Peter Maine, 56, had been interviewed by the police over fraud allegations. In September 2013, he left home to go jogging in Durham.

An hour later, he was found near a riverbank with three stab wounds to his chest. The inquest heard that two days before, he learned that he was due to appear in court for offences of conspiracy to defraud, but his family and friends say he didn't seem distressed and no weapon has ever been found.

The coroner Andrew Tweddle said there were "too many uncertainties" in the case and recorded an open verdict.

Transporter Bridge reopening delayed again

The reopening of the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough has been delayed after a subcontractor went into administration.

The council had hoped it would reopen this month following a £2.6m Heritage Lottery Fund revamp. However no work could be done over Christmas after SBV Fabrications collapsed in late December.

Transporter bridge in Middlesbrough
PA

Contractor Balfour Beatty is now looking to employ people who were working on the bridge to complete the final stages of the project.

It is now hoped the gondola will start working again in February. A council spokesman said: "We apologise for the ongoing inconvenience and are grateful to them for the patience they have shown during the closure."

Burglars target charity

A Stockton charity that sends aid to Romania was targeted by burglars over Christmas.

Thieves stole a forklift truck and tools from Convoy Aid's warehouse at some point between 10 December and 2 January, police said.

The forklift was essential to the charity, which used it to move pallets on to vehicles.

Legal high crackdown?

Damian O'Neil

BBC Look North

The Republic of Ireland closed down the legal high trade overnight four years ago by banning all psychoactive substances, excluding alcohol and tobacco.

A senior drugs officer in the Irish police and eminent child psychiatrist says the UK should follow suit.

Watch

BBC Look North's exclusive report on
BBC One at 18:30.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 15:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Fed-up residents have launched a petition to try to get a former drop-in centre in Consett knocked down because it has become a magnet for antisocial behaviour.
  • BBC Tees: An inquest has heard the death of a solicitor found stabbed through the heart in County Durham remains a mystery.

Man found dead was under investigation

Peter Harris

Look North

The father of two who was found stabbed to death in Durham in 2013 was under investigation for conspiracy to defraud, an inquest has heard.

Solicitor Peter Maine was found by the River Wear with stab wounds to the heart after going for a jog. Police were investigating the 56-year-old, as was the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Officers looked into the possibility he was murdered, but could find no suspects or a weapon conclusively linked to his death. The hearing continues.

Road closed after crash

BBC Tees

The A177 has been closed in both directions in Sedgefield after a two-vehicle accident.

The road is closed between the A689 at the Sands Hall Roundabout and the B1278. Keep up to date with

BBC Travel.

Buddha boost for Durham

Work by an archaeologist from Durham University

has been named among the top 10 world discoveries of last year.

Buddha statue
AP

America's Archaeology Magazine put

material linking the life of Buddha to a specific century in its list, which was not ranked in order.

The work was led by Prof Robin Coningham from Durham University and Kosh Prasad Acharya of the Pashupati Area Development Trust.

Tell us what you think

We've introduced BBC Local Live, which is written by reporters across the North East, to bring you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place.

Tell us what you think.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: A Teesside charity that sends aid to children in Romania has been hit by thieves.
  • BBC Newcastle: An inquest has heard the death of a solicitor found stabbed through the heart in County Durham remains a mystery.

Knifepoint burglary in Stockton

A man has been threatened with a knife in a house burglary in Stockton, police said.

Two young children were at home when two men came in and pulled a knife on a 50-year-old man before stealing a tablet and games console on Saturday.

The suspects, believed to be 25-30, fled on pushbikes across Yarm Road into Leybourn Terrace.

New fire station for Hexham

Plans for a new fire station in Hexham have been given the green light.

Hexham Fire Station
Google

Hexham Community Fire Station is set to move from the Tyne Mills Industrial Estate to Hexham General Hospital.

Northumberland's chief fire officer Alex Bennett said: "This is a major step forward for the new community fire station which will ultimately bring a number of benefits for both the service and the local community."

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: An inquest has heard the death of a solicitor found stabbed through the heart in County Durham remains a mystery.
  • BBC Tees: Police are investigating after a man was threatened with a knife during a burglary at a house in Stockton. It happened in Outram Street on Saturday evening.

McClaren rules out Newcastle move

Head coach Steve McClaren

has insisted he is committed to winning promotion with Derby County and says he will not be taking over as Newcastle manager.

The ex-England boss had previously distanced himself from speculation he may leave, but stopped short of totally ruling himself out of succeeding Alan Pardew at the Premier League side.

But the 53-year-old told BBC Radio Derby: "I am going nowhere. I don't want to let people down. I love working here."

Mayor slams 'dodgy' Hall sale claims

Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon

has referred himself to his council's standards committee in response to accusations a land sale was "dodgy".

Mr Mallon said businesswoman Christine Bell and councillor Len Junier had criticised him and his fellow councillors for selling land at Acklam Hall for development.

Acklam Hall
Google

They referred to it as "dodgy" on Twitter and at a council meeting. Mayor Mallon says they now have to provide evidence of the claims.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: A pathologist has told the inquest into the death of Teesside dad-of-two Peter Maine it's not possible to say how he came to be stabbed.
  • BBC Newcastle: A North East MP is chairing a debate this afternoon on the treatment of benefit claimants in the the region.

Pricey pumps?

Adrian Pitches

Environment correspondent, BBC North East

Is this the priciest fuel in the North East? Find out where they're charging almost £1.60 a litre in

Look North at 13:30 on BBC One.

Petrol station prices
BBC

As prices plummet to £1 a litre, what are you paying?

Road misery in Hartlepool

Hartlepool Mail

A repair scheme on a major road in Hartlepool

has left motorists facing delays.

Traffic queuing in Hartlepool
Hartlepool Mail

Mystery over solicitor stab wounds

Peter Harris

Look North

A pathologist has told the inquest into the death of Teesside solicitor Peter Maine it's not possible to say how he came to be stabbed.

The hearing in Crook, County Durham, was told stab wounds to his heart may have been self-inflicted, but they also could've been done by a third party.

Peter Maine
Durham Police

His body was found near the River Wear in Durham. The 56-year-old from Wynyard, Stockton, was found in his running kit near Maiden Castle Sports Centre.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 11:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Newcastle's Labour MP Chi Onwurah is leading a debate at Westminster today about the way benefits claimants in the North East are being treated.
  • BBC Tees: An inquest is being held into the death of a Teesside dad of two.

Council ups cuts figure

Durham County Council has revised predicted spending cuts for the second time to more than £250m.

The Labour-run authority raised its original target from £200m to £222m in October 2013, blaming additional reductions in government grants.

It now says austerity measures outlined in

Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement mean a further £30m needs to be saved by 2019.

Council leader Simon Henig said front-line services were threatened.

Elvis at 80

Amy Lea

BBC Look North

Any Elvis fans out there? We're looking for a huge follower to come on

BBC Tees tomorrow to chat to
Mike Parr.

Elvis Presley
AP

Tomorrow would have been Elvis's 80th birthday.