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  1. Updates on Wednesday 18 February 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

That's all from BBC Local Live today. We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday. Dean Matthews sent us this lovely photo of the lighthouse in South Shields.

Lighthouse in South Shields
Dean Matthews Photography

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

Pensioner's distraction burglary warning

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

A pensioner known only as Ronald has spoken about the time burglars went to his home and stole money from him while he made them a cup of tea.

Northumbria Police

Northumbria Police

hope his story will help others avoid falling victim to the same criminal ploy.

The warning comes after a spate of similar incidents in North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead and South Tyneside.

Question Time in Stockton

The panellists set to take part in this week's Question Time, which is being filmed in Stockton, have been announced.

The guests for Question Time

Among them will be Darlington businessman Duncan Bannatyne, Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Labour MP Caroline Flint, former Conservative deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine and Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb.

Question Time is

filmed and broadcast on Thursdays at 22:45 on BBC One.

On the programme tonight

BBC Look North

A young Northumberland footballer is alive and recovering tonight - all because an off-duty paramedic left a vital piece of emergency kit in his car by mistake.

Adam Stephen, 17, from Otterburn, was playing in a juniors match at Haydon Bridge on Sunday when he collapsed on the pitch and went into full cardiac arrest.

By sheer chance two off-duty paramedics were close by. Better still, one of them remembered he had an important piece of equipment in his car - a defibrillator. There's more on this story on Look North on BBC One at 18:30

or if you miss it catch up here.

More on Mike Ashley's parliamentary call up

The administration which saw the closure of USC's Ayrshire Warehouse was prompted after fashion brand Diesel took action over an unpaid bill.

Committee chairman Ian Davidson said: "The Scottish Affairs Committee is investigating how employees in small businesses are treated when big bosses decide to shut down a company or sites.

"We are now inviting USC and Sports Direct management, and Mike Ashley, as the directing influence of this group, to meet with the Committee."

He said the committee will also look for evidence on USC's use of zero hour contracts. Sports Direct declined to comment.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 17:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: An amateur drone operator has been warned by police after his craft crashed into Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland.
  • BBC Tees: A Middlesbrough charity claims finding work is not as easy as is being made out by the
    latest unemployment figures.

Pub fined for watered down vodka

The owner and manager of a Middlesbrough pub have been fined for selling vodka which had been half mixed with water.

Middlesbrough Council officers also found Edmund Smyth and Dawn Chapman were selling a cheaper, weaker brand of Jagermeister than advertised at the Zetland Hotel in Zetland Road.

The Zetland Hotel

Magistrates in Teesside fined owner Smyth, 64, of The Wynd in Yarm, a total of £2,000 and ordered him to pay £1,443.94 costs and a £20 victim surcharge after he admitted four offences.

Manager Chapman, 41, of Thorndyke Avenue in Middlesbrough, admitted the same offences and was fined £400 with £100 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Brain damaged woman lands compensation

The Chronicle


A County Durham woman left brain damaged when she was assaulted as a baby has won more than £6.5m in damages.

Despite the horrific extent of her injuries, the victim, now in her 20s but with the mental age of a three-year-old, was initially awarded just £215,000 when her case was heard in 2005.

But a

North East law firm has now secured a new multi-million pound payout for the woman.

Easington election candidates announced

Mark Denten

Political Correspondent, BBC North East & Cumbria

North East UKIP MEP

Jonathon Arnott will stand for the party in Easington in the General Election.

Other confirmed Easington candidates are the Labour's incumbent MP Graham Morris, Conservative Chris Hamsheir, the Green candidate Martie Warin and North East Party representative Susan Mcdonnell.

Fight of the farmers

Neil Green

BBC Tees

Farmers have been meeting in Middlesbrough town centre today promoting their produce.

They're urging people to buy British and help secure a long term-future for dairy farmers in the region.

But why is it necessary? I'll be

speaking to one of them and the NFU on BBC Tees.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 16:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: An 89-year-old South Tyneside man has been given suspended prison sentence after threatening to burn down his neighbour's house.
  • BBC Tees: Police have told the BBC binge-drinking is behind recent river deaths in Durham.

Pony trials on Cleadon Hills

Kristie Kinghorn

BBC News Online

A conservation grazing trial using Exmoor ponies has began at a nature reserve in South Tyneside.

Exmoor ponies
Somerset County Council

The three ponies have

started their new life on Cleadon Hills after the grazing trial was approved by cabinet members.

However, the move has been criticised by some local residents who are worried about the welfare of the animals.

Ashley called to give evidence

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has been called to give evidence before a parliamentary committee regarding the role Sports Direct played in the treatment of workers at its fashion chain USC.

Mike Ashley
Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Mr Ashley, alongside other senior management, has been called to appear before the Scottish Affairs Committee which is examining the treatment of workers at USC's Ayrshire warehouse, who were made redundant when administrators were called into a Sports Direct controlled business that owned 28 USC stores last month.

The stores were then bought out of administration by another Sports Direct subsidiary, Republic, and continue to trade but warehouse workers who lost their jobs claim they were not properly consulted before being let go.

Family still waiting for Christmas

The Chronicle


A North Shields family is still waiting to celebrate Christmas after their son was admitted to hospital in December.

Steven Browne and son Felix
The Chronicle

Laura Davidson and Stephen Browne

will not celebrate Christmas until their two-year-old son Milo gets home.

Pole position in Boro's sights

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 15:00 include:

Afternoon weather update

Lisa Gallagher

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

This afternoon looks like being mostly dry and windy, though some areas may see occasional rain.

Tonight will become even windier with gusts nearing 50mph. Temperatures will stay above zero.

Lisa Gallagher with the weather map

Check the forecast where you live.

Give us your feedback

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.

Meet Stockton's new youth MP

Jess Hugill from Conyers School, Yarm, has been elected as

Stockton Borough's MP for the UK's Youth Parliament.

Jess Hugill
Stockton Council

The 16-year-old from Ingleby Barwick received 2,464 votes from students at 11 schools in the area.

She said: "I believe strongly in young people's campaigns, particularly those around mental health issues and allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote."

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: A rally in Newcastle by right-wing anti-Islam group Pegida has been confirmed for later this month.
  • BBC Tees: The most senior family court judge in England has criticised Darlington Borough Council for "serious failings" in its social work.

Heart attack Matt thanks air ambulance

Heart attack survivor Matt Robson has raised £5,800 for the

Great North Air Ambulance which flew to his aid.

Mr Robson, 60, of Wark, Northumberland, suffered a heart attack at his home on 9 September last year and needed to be airlifted to hospital.

He said: "The care throughout really was remarkable."

Matt Robson with family and crew from the Great North Air Ambulance
Great North Air Ambulance

Cycle safety taught to 20,000

More than 20,000 schoolchildren in County Durham have benefitted from cycle safety training since it began in 2009, Durham County Council has said.

Young cyclists and their teachers hold up a 20,000 sign
Durham County Council

Bikeability is the cycling proficiency course developed to give young people the knowledge, skills they need on the roads.

Paul Watson, the council's road safety manager, said: "We have now trained 20,853 pupils since we began six years ago, our aim is for every child to have successfully completed level two of the training by the time they leave primary school."

Pub toilet couple face court

A couple who were arrested after a barman allegedly caught them in a pub toilet together have appeared in court.

Lee Hops, 30, and Hayley McClory, 23, appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court over the incident at the Stanley Jefferson pub in Bishop Auckland.

Mr Hops is charged with a public order offence and resisting arrest. Ms McClory is charged with a public order offence, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

Both defendants deny the charges, but Ms McClory did admit a charge of criminal damage relating to a police blanket. The pair were bailed until June.

Pegida rally in Newcastle confirmed

A rally in Newcastle by right-wing anti-Islam group

Pegida has been confirmed for 28 February.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "We are aware there are also plans in place for counter events to be held in the city on the same day.

"We will now speak to all of those involved, our partners and our local communities and over the coming days agree on plans for the events.

"Northumbria Police respects the right to peaceful protest and takes a neutral standpoint, not supporting or endorsing any groups or individuals."

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: The employment rate in the North East has reached a record high. Figures show 70% of people who are looking for a job in our region now have one.
  • BBC Tees: The Government has given the go-ahead for what will be the world's biggest offshore wind farm due to be built off the Yorkshire coast.

Williamson rejoins Yorkshire

BBC Sport

Yorkshire have

re-signed New Zealand international batsman Kane Williamson.

The 24-year-old will join up with the Headingley side for the final three matches of the 2015 season.

Kane Williamson
Getty Images

Williamson helped the White Rose county to their first County Championship title in 13 years last season, scoring 629 runs at an average of 57.18.

Warning after Bamburgh Castle drone crash

Police have warned a man after a drone crashed into

Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland.

Bamburgh Castle
Getty Images

The drone was smashed to pieces when it hit an apartment wall at the castle on Monday, with a man later turning up to ask for it back.

Castle director Chris Calvert said it was "travelling at a great rate of knots" and "totally out of control" because of the wind.

Northumbria Police said they advised the man about future drone usage but no offence had been committed.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Police have warned a man after a drone crashed in to Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland.
  • BBC Tees: A Teesside family's thought to be the first in the UK to be evicted from their home under new anti-social behaviour legislation.

Coroner's concerns over blackspot

Hartlepool Mail

Road chiefs investigating the safety of a stretch of dual carriageway say they will take into account the concerns of a coroner.

Keri Holdsworth crash
Hartlepool Mail

Hartlepool's coroner Malcolm Donnelly called for a ban on right-hand turns at the junction of the A19 and Dalton Back Road, on the outskirts of town, after rugby player Keri Holdsworth died in a crash last year.

Tell us 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.

Durham students: 'River safety needs to be improved'

BBC Newsbeat

Radio 1 and 1Xtra

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 11:00 include:

Man arrested after apartments climb

The Chronicle


A man has been arrested after climbing to the top of the 55 Degrees North building at the Swan House roundabout in Newcastle.

Firefighters were

called to bring the man down at about 19:30 yesterday.

55 degress north building

Loom to the moon

Jonathan Miles

BBC Newcastle

The Hall family

lost their five-year-old son Skye to cancer last year - but now they are fulfilling his wish to make a loom band that would reach the moon.

Skye Hall

Skye's parents Sally and Andrew and his brother Jesse, three,

will be in the BBC Newcastle studio with me after 11:00 to tell me how they are doing.

Today's front pages

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

Here is a look at the front pages of two of the region's newspapers.

The Northern Echo front page
The Northern Echo

The Northern Echo is leading with

the sexual assault of a man in Northallerton by two men.

Front page of the Journal
The Journal

Meanwhile, the Journal has splashed on the

response of North East councils to claims by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles that they are sitting on piles of cash.