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  1. Updates on Wednesday 11 February 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

Lloyd Watson

BBC News

That's all from BBC Local Live today. We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday. Ray Smith sent us this picture looking down on Horden beach in County Durham.

Horden beach in County Durham
Ray Smith

You can send your pictures by email to or tweet
@BBCNewsNE and we may feature them on BBC Local Live tomorrow.

Jazz helping hands

Jon Harle

BBC Newcastle

A Gateshead woman who suffered from congenital hearing loss for many years is now following a career as a jazz singer and singing coach.

Kathryn Lowdon, from Marley Hill, told me that she didn't realise how bad her hearing was until she was fitted with digital hearing aids.

Jon Harle

We spoke to her on BBC Newcastle, and you can hear more of her story

on her website.

School arson information appeal

A joint police and fire service investigation has found a fire at Burnside Primary School in Stanley, County Durham, was started deliberately.

It happened between 19:30 and 20:10 last night and caused damage to a small room and a classroom.

Burnside Primary School
Lyndsay Clark

Det Insp Gavin Heckles, who is leading the investigation says: "The police and the school are keen to work with the neighbouring community to identify who caused the fire. We are keen to speak with parents or children who may know what happened. The individual or individuals responsible will be treated fairly in the hope that they can be educated and any fire like this is prevented in the future."

Carver v Pardew

John Carver's

Newcastle United travel to Crystal Palace to face former boss' Alan Pardew's side in the Premier League.

In team news, Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote is sidelined with an ankle injury picked up on international duty.

John Carver and Alan Pardew
Getty Images

Siem de Jong has been ruled out for eight weeks after suffering a collapsed lung, while Rolando Aarons is also out.

Cloud should prevent fog

Paul Mooney

BBC Weather presenter

The majority of places will remain dry through the evening and overnight, again with just the odd spot of light rain or drizzle. There will be a good deal of cloud, which should prevent any fog or frost developing.

Weather forecast

Minimum temperature: 1C (34F).

Check the forecast near you.

New life for pub?

Damian O'Neil

BBC Look North

A group of villagers from Northumberland say they'll do whatever they can to have their local pub re-opened, after a new buyer decided it wasn't making enough money.

People holding sign

The Black Bull, in Lowick, has been serving the locals for generations, but the doors were closed a few weeks ago when the old tenants left. However all may not yet be lost. I'll have more on this story on

BBC Look North at 18:30 on BBC One.

'Violent cadet threat' men identified

Police say they have identified two men who

violently threatened two female cadets after they left a Territorial Army centre on Tyneside.

The threats are understood to have been "graphic and nasty", including a comment about beheading, and were made by the men in a car in Alexandra Road, close to the Gateshead TA Centre, on 21 January.

Gateshead Supt Richie Jackson said: "We have identified the two men from the Zafira and we now know they are Romanian nationals who were visiting the area at the time of the incident and not Asian males as first described.

"The two men have since left the country and inquiries are ongoing with Interpol to locate them and speak to them."

Local talent on the national stage

Lloyd Watson

BBC News

You might have heard some of our North East home-grown talent on

Huw Stephens' show on BBC Radio 1 this week.

The local acts were handpicked by Nick Roberts, who presents BBC Introducing in the North East on BBC Newcastle (Every Saturday 20:00 - 22:00).

Huw Stephens

On Monday we heard Coquin Migale and Hollywood Drip (

Listen again). Tuesday's show included Fractions and Shields (
Listen again) and tonight's show, we can reveal, will include Slug and Lisbon (
Listen here later).

Pedestrian knocked over by bus

A pedestrian has been knocked over by a bus in Newcastle.

They were taken to hospital after the collision, which happened at about 15:40 in Whickham View, near to the junction with Broadmead Way.

Officers are currently investigating the collision and the road has been closed with a diversion in place.

King on the silver screen

BBC Newcastle

A BBC Newcastle special half-hour documentary about Martin Luther King's visit to Tyneside in 1967 is to be

screened at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle.

'A King's Speech - Martin Luther King on Tyneside' is narrated by Lenny Henry and tells the story of the African American civil rights activist's visit to the North East to collect an honorary doctorate from the University of Newcastle - the only university in the UK to honour Dr King in this way during his lifetime.

Martin Luther King, Newcastle University
Newcastle University

The documentary will be shown in the Digital Lounge at the cinema on 12, 13, 17 and 18 February.

Sex assault: police release CCTV

Police investigating a sexual assault in North Tyneside have

released an image of a man they need to trace as they appeal for witnesses.

The attack happened at Deep Bar, Promenade, in Whitley Bay between 02:00 and 03:00 on Friday 17 October. An 18-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in the bar.

Man in bar
Northumbria Police

The man pictured was in the bar at the time of the incident and police believe he may have information that could help with inquiries. Anyone with information should call 101.

Punter wins £93k thanks to Boro

Some news you may have missed -

Boro's 3-1 win over Charlton at the weekend helped one man
win nearly £93,000 from a £2 football bet.

Father-to-be Dean Clay, from Chandler's Ford, Hampshire, put on an accumulator bet and correctly predicted the outcome of 14 games over the weekend.

Betting shop receipt
dean clay

He thought he had won £69,882 but when he walked into the betting shop on Monday he was told he had also won a bonus, making his total winnings £92,944.

"It's lucky that my wife and I were standing near the counter," he said, "as I think we both would have hit the deck at that point."

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 17:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: The £300m Ensus plant on Teesside has stopped production for the fourth time since coming on stream in 2010.
  • BBC Newcastle: Jon Harle and Anne Leuchars have a round-up of the day's news.

No joy for Parling after injury

England have named an unchanged squad for Saturday's Six Nations match against Italy at Twickenham.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster, boosted by Friday's opening win against Wales, will name the team on Thursday.

He said: "We've gone for the same squad that played against Wales as we look to build consistent performances."

Lock Geoff Parling, from Stockton, was ruled out after failing to recover from a knee injury picked up in Leicester's loss to Ulster last month.

Plant stops production

BBC Tees

The £300m Ensus plant on Teesside has stopped production for the fourth time since coming on line in 2010.

The Wilton bio-refinery - Europe's largest - turns wheat into ethanol which is then put into petrol to cut emissions.

However, the plant has been hit by lower-than-expected demand and competition from the US. It's believed all 100 staff will be kept on during the indefinite closure period.

Firefighters to stage strike

Firefighters in England will stage a fresh 24-hour strike in the coming weeks over their long-running pensions dispute, the Fire Brigades Union says.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 16:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: Durham police and crime commissioner Ron Hogg will not face any charges over two bonus payments he received while serving as a police officer.
  • BBC Newcastle: Jon Harle and Anne Leuchars have a round-up of the day's news.

School fire 'started deliberately'

A fire which damaged part of a primary school in Stanley, County Durham, is thought to have been started deliberately, the fire service says.

A small fire was started which spread into a small room and caused damage to a classroom in Burnside Primary School at about 19:30 last night.

Head teacher Lisa Armstrong says the school is likely to be closed for repairs for the rest of the week, but it is hoped it will be back up and running as soon as possible.

Unlawful excavations 'damaging'

Unlawful excavations along Hadrian's Wall are having a

"damaging effect" on North East culture and archaeology, heritage groups have warned.

Known as "nighthawking", illegal metal detecting has been carried out at Steel Rigg and Peel Crags within the Northumberland National Park.

Hadrian's Wall

The sites are legally protected as Scheduled Ancient Monuments. It is a criminal offence to use metal detecting equipment there without authorisation from English Heritage.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 15:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: Durham police and crime commissioner Ron Hogg will not face any charges over two bonus payments he received while serving as a police officer.
  • BBC Newcastle: New statistics show the North East has the second-highest rate of deaths linked to alcohol in England.

'No case to answer'

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg has been giving his reaction to the fact he will not be prosecuted over bonuses and a car he received when he was deputy chief constable at Cleveland Police.

He said: "The matter should never have been referred to the CPS. I am pleased at the announcement but disappointed that it has gone this far.

"I am not surprised that I have been completely exonerated. There was no case to answer and the IPCC should not be spending valuable taxpayers' resources on something like this."

An IPCC spokesman said: "The IPCC liaised with the Crown Prosecution Service throughout the investigation. Our investigation report will now be sent to the Durham Police and Crime Panel before it is published on the IPCC website."

'Suspicious package' found

The Gazette

An investigation is under way after police received a call alerting them to a

suspicious package at Teesside Magistrates' Court.

Police car
The Gazette

Civil claim no longer 'justified'

Cleveland Police's PCC Barry Coppinger said pressing ahead with a civil claim against the former chief constable of Cleveland Police, Sean Price,

could not be justified in the face of budget cuts.

He said: "This was a difficult decision for me as I had a strong case that the payments were lawful and should not be repaid 10 years later.

Barry Coppinger

"However, the case has cost me several thousand pounds already and the public a great deal more. The only people benefiting have been lawyers. I made the decision that the best course of action was to settle now to prevent the costs escalating further."

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg will not face any charges over two bonus payments he received while serving as a police officer.
  • BBC Newcastle: New statistics show the North East has the second-highest rate of deaths linked to alcohol in England.

North East named in booze death table

The North East has the second-highest rate of deaths linked to alcohol in the UK,

new government figures show.

In 2013, 277 men in the region died from drink-related illness, a rate of 22.3 deaths per 100,000 population.

In the same time 153 women died of the same causes, a rate of 11.6. Only the North West and Scotland were worse.

Mostly cloudy

Lisa Gallagher

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

It will stay mostly cloudy this afternoon but it will tend to become brighter, with perhaps the odd glimpse of the sun, particularly towards Sunderland.

Weather forecast

Maximum temperature: 8C (46F).

Check the forecast near you.

Harmy making headlines again

BBC Sport

Former Durham and England fast bowler Steve Harmison seems to have cracked football management after winning his first game in charge of non-league Ashington.

Harmison, 36, agreed a deal to

manage his hometown side on Sunday - who play in the ninth-tier of English football.

The Colliers gave the new boss the perfect start as they advanced to the quarter-finals of the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup with a 1-0 victory against Bishop Auckland.

"We've only been in the job 48 hours,"

Harmison told the club's website.

"It's been frantic before the game, the 90 minutes were frantic, but we were on the right side of the result."

Steve Harmison
Getty Images

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg will not face any charges over two bonus payments he received while serving as a police officer.
  • BBC Newcastle: Alan Barnes - the disabled Gateshead pensioner who was attacked outside his home in Gateshead - says he wants to move to the same place as Katie Cutler, the woman who raised funds to help find him a new place to live.

Give us your feedback

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.

De Jong out for two months

Newcastle striker Siem de Jong has had surgery after suffering a collapsed lung and

will be out of action for eight weeks.

De Jong, who suffered the same problem in 2013, has been out of action with a torn thigh muscle but was close to a first-team return.

Siem de Jong
Getty Images

He said: "After months of hard work getting back to full fitness, it is such bad luck to suffer another setback. We are all hopeful that the surgery I have had will ensure I don't have any repeat of the condition in the future."

Donations to 'open doors'

After receiving a cheque for more than £300,000, Gateshead pensioner Alan Barnes says the money will "open doors" in the future.

Mr Barnes said: "I've always wanted to do other things that I've found difficult with having my eyesight problem, but she (Katie) seems to have opened doors and I might be able to do it now, it's sinking in now."

Alan Barnes and Katie Cutler

If you missed it, see the moment they met for the first time.

Alan Barnes handed donations cheque

A cheque for more than £300,000 of public donations has been handed over to Gateshead pensioner Alan Barnes.

Mr Barnes, 67, suffered a broken collarbone when he was knocked to the ground outside his Gateshead home on 25 January.

Katie Cutler and Alan Barnes
North News

Katie Cutler set up the online donation page on with the aim of raising £500, but donations poured in from all over the world.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: Prosecutors have decided not to take any action against Durham's police and crime commissioner - Ron Hogg - over two bonuses he was given while he was deputy chief constable of Cleveland Police.
  • BBC Newcastle: The disabled pensioner who was attacked outside his home has been presented with a cheque for more than £300,000 by the woman who raised it for him.

Pupils not offered 'vital' GCSEs

Pupils in some parts of England are unlikely to take exams that could be vital to their job prospects - such as sciences and languages - due to a subject "desert", a study has found.

The Open Public Services Network examined GCSE statistics from 2013 and found in some authorities a third of schools did not offer triple science. The government said thousands more pupils were now taking core subjects.

See an interactive map showing schools which offer triple science.

School pupils

It also found children in Kensington, London, were four times more likely to be enrolled for a language GCSE than children in Middlesbrough.

Hogg 'will not be prosecuted' - CPS

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg has been told he will not be prosecuted over bonuses and a car he received when he was a senior officer at a neighbouring force.

He was subject of an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into his time at Cleveland Police, where he was deputy chief constable.

Ron Hogg

The IPCC passed on its findings to the Crown Prosecution Service last week, which considered whether a charge of misconduct in a public office was appropriate. The CPS has announced there is "insufficient evidence to show any crime has been committed".

'Drugs in sock' man arrested

Cleveland & Durham Specialist Operations Unit

tweets: Male arrested for providing false details, no licence or insurance. The drugs in his sock didn't help either.

Seized car
Durham RPU

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 11:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: Cleveland's police and crime commissioner is dropping attempts to sue the former Chief Constable for £500,000.
  • BBC Newcastle: There is a warning that a worrying amount of schools in Newcastle aren't giving children the opportunity to get into science.

Rusty axe burglars steal cash

Two men armed with a rusty axe stole cash and phones in North Ormesby.

They entered an address in Dorothy Street at about 18:40 on Sunday. A 21-year-old man and a 34-year-old man who were inside the property were unharmed.

Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.