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  1. Updates on Thursday 19 February 2015
  2. News, sport, weather and travel returns from 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Lloyd Watson

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 Friday. Tom Easton from Blyth, Northumberland, sent us this picture of a colourful sky over Tynemouth.

Tom Easton

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

On tonight's BBC Look North

Gerry Jackson

BBC Look North

Debates about new housing, or protecting greenbelt, always provoke strong opinions. But there's something else that's been controversial for decades - opencast mining.

Southeast Northumberland has seen a particular concentration of these mines. They scar the landscape - but bring jobs and money into local economies.

Druridge Bay

One company want to begin opencasting in a particularly sensitive area close to one of our most beautiful beaches. I'll have more on this story on

BBC Look North at 18:30 on BBC One.

Clear and dry for most

Hannah Bayman

BBC Weather presenter

Apart from the odd shower, most places will remain dry overnight with clear periods. Temperatures will fall close to zero with a local frost and some icy patches.

Weather forecast

Minimum temperature: 0C (32F).

Check the forecast near you.

Grain shipment leaves port

The Shields Gazette

One of the largest grain shipments to ever leave the UK is

safely on its way to the Middle East.

Ship on Tyne
Shields Gazette

Mystery swan deaths investigated

Phil Mawson

BBC News

Animal welfare officers in County Durham are investigating whether more than 20 swans have been poisoned.

The birds are among a group of about 100 that live on a section of the River Wear which passes through Riverside Park in Chester-le-Street.

Chester-le-Street swans

The RSPCA said it was possible they had been deliberately or accidentally poisoned or died of a natural illness. One theory is that mouldy bread, which is poisonous to swans, may have been fed to the birds.

Poyet issues letter to fans

Sunderland's head coach Gus Poyet has

issued a an open letter to his side's fans.

In it he pleads to "make sure that we don't let anyone to break our relationship" after the Black Cats have only won one game in the Premier League in 2015.

Sunderland's Gus Poyet
Getty Images

He says: "I invite all of you to stay positive, to be strong, closer to each other and keep believing in what we started together last year, working harder to make it better this season. I would like to clarify once more: the man responsible for the results of our team is me, I've always said it - and I will always accept my responsibility."

Sex assault in Middlesbrough

Police are trying to

trace a good Samaritan who intervened during a sexual assault in Middlesbrough.

An 18-year-old woman was making her way along Stephenson Street towards Borough Road at about 12:00 on Tuesday when a man grabbed her and made sexually explicit comments.

A female member of the public intervened to assist the victim but she left the scene without leaving her details.

The suspect is described as a slim, white male, aged in his late thirties to early forties, around 5ft 7ins tall, with short blonde hair and missing upper and lower teeth.

Train plan dubbed 'London cast offs'

Proposals to run

old London Underground trains on routes in northern England would see travellers getting the South's "cast offs", a union has said.

Refitted District Line carriages are being offered as an affordable way to replace ageing Pacer trains.


Vivarail, the firm behind the plan, said it was in talks with bidders for the northern rail franchise. The Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) said it did not want second-hand trains on the northern network.

Two-point challenge

Matthew Raisbeck

BBC Newcastle

Gateshead boss Gary Mills is challenging his players to earn an average of two points a game.

The Heed Army have

16 games remaining before the end of the season and that average should taken them into the football conference play-offs.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 17:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: A Durham County Councillor has told BBC Tees that he's not sorry for having ambitions for the future of County Durham
  • BBC Newcastle: Jon Harle and Anne Leuchars have a round-up of the day's news

'Time running out' Moore

The Pools manager Ronnie Moore says their away form has to improve if they're to stand any chance of getting out of trouble.

Pools last won away in League Two at Exeter City back in mid-October. Moore says they need to start winning games as time is running out.

They're seven points from safety at the bottom of League Two ahead of Saturday's trip to Bury.

Ducks killed in burglary

Two ducks have been killed during a burglary in Gateshead.

A shed at an allotment had been broken into in Blaydon Bank in Winlaton between 16:00 on Monday and 06:30 on Tuesday.

Acting Insp Adrian Oakes said: "During the burglary two ducks have been needlessly killed which has caused a huge amount of distress to the family who own them. We're carrying out inquiries into the incident and we're asking any witnesses to get in contact as they may have information that can help."

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.

'Unrealistic and flawed'

Plans for a multimillion-pound development for County Durham have been

branded "unrealistic and flawed" in a report by a senior inspector.

The county council aims to build 31,400 homes and create thousands of jobs over the next 20 years in a bid to attract more businesses and people to the area.

Durham Cathedral

But inspector Harold Stephens said the plan was "unsound" and assumptions about job growth were "very ambitious". A Durham County Council spokesman said the report was "beyond disappointing".

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 15:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Two ducks have been killed during a burglary at an allotment in Gateshead
  • BBC Tees: Police are trying to trace a good Samaritan who intervened during a sexual assault in Middlesbrough

One lane closed on A1

One lane is closed on the A1 northbound between Morpeth South turn off in Tranwell and Morpeth North turn off in Mitford because of an accident and recovery work. More on BBC Travel News for

Teesside and
Tyne and Wear.

Falcons sign ex-New Zealand international

Newcastle Falcons have signed former

New Zealand back Mike Delany from French Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne.

The 32-year-old, who can play at fly-half, full-back or centre, will join in the summer on a three-year contract. His previous clubs include Super Rugby outfits Highlanders and Chiefs.

Mike Delany
Getty Images

"Mike's a high quality player. We had a good look at him and his style of play and ability to control a game will fit very well with what we're doing here," said director of rugby Dean Richards.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: A man from South Shields who held a knife to a teenager's throat and threatened to shoot him with an air rifle has been jailed despite having a life expectancy of just a year
  • BBC Tees: A blueprint for housing, shops and business space in County Durham over the next 15 years has been branded unrealistic and unsound by an independent planning inspector

Drier and brighter spells

Jennifer Bartram

BBC Weather

It will be a rather cloudy start to the afternoon with rain at times but the rain should gradually ease with some drier and brighter spells later in the day. Feeling fairly cool under the cloud and rain.

Weather forecast

Maximum temperature: 9C (48F).

Check the forecast near you.

Racecourse owners fined

Chris Stewart

BBC Look North chief reporter

BBC Look North can reveal that the owners of Newcastle racecourse have been fined after a basic mistake led to a horse having to be destroyed.

Horses racing

Hitman Harry was badly injured at a meeting last November and was then put down by a vet.

As well as the fine, the racecourse will also have to pay out compensation expected to be about £60,000. I'll have more on this story on

BBC Look North at 13:30 on BBC One.

Boro return to the top


earned a single point to return to the top of the Championship table.

Although Birmingham had 15 shots, Paul Caddis' penalty kick was the only one to find the back of the net in the first half.

Middlesbrough stats

Boro committed almost three times as many fouls as the Blues including having their goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos sent off.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Two people have been seriously injured after a head-on collision north of Durham
  • BBC Tees: A Councillor at Durham County Council has told BBC Tees that he's not sorry for having ambitions for the future of County Durham

Two injured in crash

Two people have been seriously injured after a head-on collision north of Durham.

Two cars collided near to the Cocken Lodge Golf Course at Leamside just after 08:30 on Wednesday.

A 22-year-old woman from Sherburn Village was taken to the Newcastle RVI with leg injuries. A 75-year-old woman from Finchale, was taken to hospital in Middlesbrough with chest injuries.

And the winner is...

Jonathan Miles

BBC Newcastle

Tyneside will have a dog show with a difference this weekend - the Crazy Dog Show has categories including waggiest tail, prettiest bitch, cuddliest ears and even a fancy dress competition.

There will also be traditional show dog classes including gundog/working, terrier, hound and best crossbreed.

Jonathan Miles with Janice Cumberland

It's in its third year and hopes to raise £1,000 for a dog charity - and I've been speaking to organiser of the event, Janice Cumberland.

Listen again on iPlayer.

Your photos: Billsmoor Park

Steve Preston sent us this photo of a still and calm Billsmoor Park in Northumberland.

Billsmoor Park
Steve Preston

You can send your pictures by email: or tweet

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Two people have been seriously injured after a head-on collision north of Durham
  • BBC Tees: Almost 10,000 suspected illicit cigarettes and more than a kilogram of fake tobacco have been seized during raids in Bishop Auckland

Tackled to the ground

BBC Tees

With Darlington Arena due to host the fourth-round Six Nations clash between England and Scotland women's rugby next month - we thought we would send reporter, Andy Bell, along to give it a go.

Andy Bell being tackled

Here he is about to be tackled by Darlington Mowden Park Sharks player and England Captain, Tamara Taylor.

Watch the video here.

'Tight until the end'

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka

told his club's website: "I'm very proud of all the players. They know that and I told them after the game that finally we're at the top of the table and we are there because all of them deserve it.

Aitor Karanka

"I don't know if anyone thought we would be in this position back in June or July. Now we have to defend this position and it's going to be very difficult. This league will be tight until the end."

Today's front page

Here's a link to a

story on the front page:

The Journal front page
The Journal

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 11:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: An 82-year-old man killed in a crash in Northumberland has been named by police
  • BBC Tees: A Teesside power plant under fire for hiring too many workers from outside the region, is holding a local recruitment fair

Crash death man named

An elderly man, who died in a collision between two cars in Northumberland, has been named as Thomas Stanley Willcox, 82, from the Alnwick area.

A Rover and a VW Passat

collided near to West Land Cottages on Alnwick Moor at about 19:20 on Tuesday.

Mr Willcox was pronounced dead at the scene. The 31-year-old male driver of the Passat was taken to Wansbeck General Hospital with minor injuries. The road was closed for five hours.

Today's front page

The Gazette

Here's a

link to the front page story:

Gazette front page