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  1. Updates on Monday 9 February 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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That's all from Local Live for today, thank you for joining us.

We'll be back from 08:00 tomorrow. If you'd like us to feature your comments or pictures, send them to us by

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Coming up on Look North

Jeff Brown

BBC Look North

The City Safety Group has been meeting in Durham this afternoon after three student deaths in the River Wear,

Last week the Chief Constable of Durham told Look North there wouldn't be extra patrols of the river banks and that students needed to take responsibility for their own safety. Tackling the sale of cheap alcohol within the historic city was, he said, a "key priority".

Well, the safety meeting of police, the university and county council has just finished and our reporter Sharon Barbour was there and will bring us the latest. Join us from 18:30 on BBC One.

Patchy fog and frost

Areas of low cloud, and hill fog will continue to affect the North Pennines. Elsewhere largely clear conditions with light winds will allow patchy fog and frost to form, particularly along the Tyne and Teesdale valley.

BBC weather graphic

Minimum Temperature: -2C (28F)

Sting to play extra Sage concert

Phil Mawson

BBC Newcastle

Sting is to play an extra concert at the Sage Gateshead to satisfy what organisers describe as "phenomenal demand".

Frank Ockenfels

The former Police front man, who was born in Wallsend, has already committed to two shows on 24 and 25 April.

He has now agreed to a third show on 25 April.

He will be performing songs from his latest album and musical The Last Ship.

More safety steps after river deaths

Russell Ward

BBC Newcastle

Among the other steps to be taken following the deaths of three students in the River Wear in Durham are a guardianship scheme for all premises which would involve volunteers being contacted when someone is excluded so they can escort them home.

A safe place will be created in the city centre for vulnerable drinkers as well as a link with four local taxi firms to get vulnerable drinkers home even if they don't have the obvious means to pay.

We'll have more on this in Breakfast on BBC Newcastle from 07:00 on Tuesday.

Safety measures after River Wear deaths

Russell Ward

BBC Newcastle

Following the deaths of three students in the River Wear in Durham over the last 15 months, the police and council and university officials have been meeting to discuss their next steps.

Here are some of the measures they have announced this afternoon:

  • An independent review of river safety by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) will start in March and a report will follow.
  • An enhanced education process involving licensed premises with all bars being visited by the city centre manager
  • A breathalyser scheme to be considered on the doors of clubs to avoid drunk people getting in

Helicopters are 'causing' lightning

Martin Emmerson

BBC Newcastle


BBC Newcastle Drive, we're talking to the Met Office about bizarre lightning strikes on North Sea helicopters.


It turns out the helicopters are the perfect conductor for lightning in certain cloud conditions because they are negatively charged.

Each year there are around 60,000 return flights to gas and oil rigs. A small number are struck by lightning.

We've been talking to Dr Helen Wells who has been investigating the phenomena.

Listen again here.

Durham miner inspired 'bantam unit'

A century ago the British Army set up Bantam battalions for men under 5ft 3in, reportedly after a Durham miner complained he was blocked from joining up because he was just 5ft 2ins tall.

Bantam battalion
Stephen McGreal

The story goes that he walked from recruiting office to recruiting office, but in each was told the same thing.

By the time he reached Birkenhead on Merseyside he was so infuriated that he threatened to fight any man who said that the missing inch mattered.

The local MP Alfred Bigland, took up his case wrote to Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener. The War Office eventually allowed more than 3,000 men to join up who had been previously been barred.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 17:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Jon Harle and Martin Emmerson will have a round-up of the day's headlines.
  • BBC Tees: Six people were taken to hospital at the weekend after taking ecstasy tablets during a night out in Middlesbrough.

Road closed after accident

The A689 Stockton Road in Hartlepool closed and there is queuing traffic in both directions between the B1276 Seaton Lane junction and the High Street junction, because of an accident.

One lane is blocked and there is queuing traffic on A1(M) southbound between J63, A167 (Chester-le-Street) and J62, A690 (Carrville), because of a broken down vehicle.

More on the

BBC Travel website for Teesside. and
Tyne & Wear.

Carver warns Cabella not to be 'disrespectful'

BBC Sport

Newcastle manager John Carver has told Remy Cabella not to be "disrespectful" to his team-mates following his angry reaction to being substituted.

Remy Cabella
Getty Images

Cabella, 24, threw a water bottle after he was replaced during Newcastle's 1-1 draw at home to Stoke on Sunday.

Carver has spoken to Cabella and warned the France winger about his conduct.

Young dog learns new tricks

Russell Ward

BBC Newcastle

Bella Blot, a three-year-old cocker spaniel, is on a challenge to learn a new trick every day for a year at her home on Wearside to raise money for the Dog Aid charity.

Bella, now also known as Paul Spaniels, is an assistance dog helping disabled owner Lynn Stacey around the home and even with the shopping.

Bella Blot with Lynn Spencer

Lynn, from Hetton-le-Hole, near Sunderland, hopes to raise £1,000 to help train more assistance dogs.

She updates Bella's 365 Trick Challenge every day on Facebook.

Share your views

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 16:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Jon Harle and Martin Emmerson will have a round-up of the day's headlines.
  • BBC Tees: A woman has needed surgery after being cut during a knife point robbery in Middlesbrough.

University reacts to drugs alert

Neil Green

BBC Tees


BBC Tees Drive this afternoon, we're talking to bosses at Teesside University on how students are educated about the dangers of drugs.

MDMA drugs
Cleveland Police

This follows news that six people were taken to hospital after taking "strong" ecstasy tablets at a Middlesbrough pub.

The rogue batch of tablets contained higher than normal amounts of the drug MDMA - the base chemical of ecstasy.

From 16:00 GMT we'll be chatting to the university's education officer Ryan Marshall and getting his reaction to the news.

Footballer earning a living in India

Chris Jackson

Presenter, Inside Out North East & Cumbria

Josh Walker from Tyneside was in Middlesbrough's youth academy - made it into the first team and captained England as a youngster - but now he's had to leave his young daughter at home while he earns a living playing in India's fledgling football world.

Inside Out graphic

See more on this story on tonight's Inside Out on BBC One in the North East and Cumbria at 19:30.

Union planning Pacer train protest

Rail union the RMT has condemned reports that Pacer trains are to remain in service in the North East for the foreseeable future.

Pacer train

Ministers have admitted that the ageing carriages - introduced in the 1980s as a stop-gap - "still have a role to play" on the region's rail network.

The union said members would be mounting a demonstration at Newcastle's Central Station on 13 February.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "We now know that the pledges to replace the clapped-out Pacers have been exposed as nothing but hot air."

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 15:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Cash has been stolen during a robbery on North Tyneside by two men, one armed with a machete.
  • BBC Tees: Police have issued a warning about a rogue batch of "strong ecstasy" after six people were taken to hospital in Middlesbrough at the weekend.

Redcar pier campaign group folds

BBC Tees

The group formed to campaign for a traditional pier in Redcar has folded saying it is unsustainable.

People walking along the promenade beside the pier at Redcar, Cleveland circa 1890. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Getty Images

The Redcar Pier Association formed a company in 2013 and attracted hundreds of members, but now it says numbers have fallen away.

The town has not had a pier for more than 30 years.

A £1.6m so-called "vertical pier" was opened in Redcar in 2013.

Machete raiders escape with cash

Phil Mawson

BBC Newcastle

Two raiders, one armed with a machete, escaped with cash after targeting security guards who were dropping of cash at a North Tyneside store.

The incident happened at the Home Bargains store in the Forum Centre in Wallsend on Sunday afternoon.

The masked robbers made off in a silver Corsa-type car, according to Northumbria Police.

No-one was hurt.

Eagles into semi-finals

BBC Sport

Plymouth Raiders will face Newcastle Eagles in the BBL Trophy semi-finals after beating Surrey United and Glasgow Rocks respectively on Saturday.

Andre Jones scored 20 points for Newcastle in their 88-70 win, their 12th in succession against the Rocks.

Raiders and Eagles join Leicester Riders and one of Sheffield Sharks and London Lions in the final four.

Views sought on coroner services

Phil Mawson

BBC Newcastle

A formal consultation is to begin into the proposed merger of Hartlepool and Teesside coroner areas.

Former Teesside coroner Michael Sheffield
BBC news grab

The merger plan was triggered by the retirement last April of former Teesside coroner Michael Sheffield (pictured), who was

criticised over big delays.

The public consultation will last four weeks.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Sixteen schools across the North East are to get a share of £2bn to rebuild or refurbish their buildings.
  • BBC Tees: Police have issued a warning after six people were taken to hospital after taking ecstasy tablets in Middlesbrough at the weekend.

Newcastle United news conference

BBC Sport

Newcastle head coach John Carver is preparing his side for Wednesday's trip to Crystal Palace, where his predecessor Alan Pardew is now the manager.

John Carver and Alan Pardew
Getty Images

"Alan and I are both professionals and want to win. We'll be toe-to-toe in the technical area but after there'll be one big cuddle," Carver said.

"I've worked with a lot of top coaches and managers and Alan is one of the best. Alan gave me my opportunity to come back here. I'm grateful for that and I learnt so much from him."

Sunderland fans get price freeze

Sunderland fans have been told

season ticket prices at the Stadium of Light for the 2015-16 season are to be frozen.

Stadium of Light

The club's chief executive, Margaret Byrne, said: "We recognise how important our supporters are to what we are trying to achieve here at Sunderland.

"We wholeheartedly appreciate the sacrifice they make when they commit to a season card and give their backing to the team week in, week out and we want to ensure that as many of them as possible can continue to do so, which is why we have frozen our prices."

The club said fans aged under 16 would pay £99 for a whole season.

More cameras to trap fly-tippers

Dozens of CCTV cameras will be placed at known hotspots throughout the county over the coming weeks, with the warning that those caught will be prosecuted.

Discarded tyres

The campaign - dubbed Operation Stop It - is being backed by Durham Police and the Environment Agency.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: A man has been jailed for a rape in Newcastle.
  • BBC Tees: Six young people have been taken to hospital after taking ecstasy at a bar in Middlesbrough at the weekend.

Long sunny periods this afternoon

Areas of cloud will drift around, especially across the North Pennines and Cheviots. However, cloud breaks and long sunny periods will occur, particularly to the east of the Pennines, and it will become mild in the east.

Maximum Temperature: 12C (54F)

Countryside 999 filmed in County Durham

The new series of the BBC One show Countryside 999 returns this week and will look at rural policing in County Durham.

The new series started today with the first of 15 programmes shown on consecutive weekdays.

Police car
Durham Constabulary

Much of the filming took place in August last year and included a number of days when the camera crews followed police officers covering Teesdale, Weardale and parts of Derwentside.

More Saturday sunset stunners

Phil Mawson

BBC News

Tracey Laing took this shot in Consett on Saturday evening.

Sunset in Consett
Tracey Laing

She described it - quite rightly - as "a gorgeous and fiery night sky".

Keep your spectacular sunset photos coming in to

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Sixteen schools across the North East are to get a share of £2bn which will be used to improve more than 250 schools.
  • BBC Tees: Police have issued a warning after six people were taken to hospital after taking ecstasy tablets in Middlesbrough at the weekend.

Serious accident closes A185

The A185 Shields Road in Heworth is closed and there is queuing traffic westbound between the Low Heworth Lane junction and Heworth Roundabout, because of a serious accident.

More on the

BBC Travel website for Tyne & Wear.

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What do you think of BBC Local Live? It's written by reporters across the North East and brings you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place.

We'd like your feedback about this service.

Clegg hails crumbling schools cash

Among the North East sites to benefit from the government's £140m plan to tackle crumbling schools are Vane Road Primary School in Durham and Dinnington First School in Newcastle.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
Getty Images

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "Thousands of pupils will benefit from better, brighter, warmer classrooms thanks to this funding.

"Children can't learn and teachers can't teach in schools that are cold and have leaking roofs."

Crumbling schools to get millions

Colin Briggs

BBC Look North

In today's

Look North we'll be looking at how 16 schools in our region will benefit from a share of the government's £140m Priority School building Programme.

Building site

The cash will be used to rebuild or refurbish rundown sites across the North East and is the latest phase of a £2bn overall project to boost the quality of school buildings.