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  1. Updates on Wednesday 25 February 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Good evening

Lloyd Watson

BBC News

That's all from BBC Local Live today. We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday. Jack Reay sent us this picture of the sun rising just above Roker's south pier.

Sun in Roker
Jack Reay

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

Free school taking legal advice

Durham Free School is taking legal advice after the Education Secretary said it will close at Easter.

It follows a critical Ofsted report last year,

and last month the Government said it was stopping its funding.

In a statement, chair of governors John Denning said: "It is important that parents are informed by the school of the content of the Regional School's Commissioner letter, and that is our priority at this time. The trust is also consulting its legal advisers."

'Keep any disruption to a minimum'

It concludes: "We have given careful thought to the effect on pupils of having to move to another school; and we have sought to keep any disruption to a minimum by liaising with Durham County Council (DCC) regarding provision of alternative school places.

"With this in mind, the Secretary of State has set the date for termination at the end of the spring term."

'Culture of intolerance'

Today's letter to Durham Free School, signed by Janet Renou, regional schools commissioner for the North, and addressed to chair of governors John Denning, says: "Having considered the academy trust's representations, the Secretary of State does not consider that you have provided sufficient evidence to show that the academy trust has the capacity or a suitable strategy to bring about the necessary improvements at Durham Free School.

"The representations put forward did not full demonstrate that the Trust is seriously addressing weaknesses in areas such as safeguarding pupils, poor attendance, quality of teaching and dealing with a "culture of intolerance of people who have different faiths, values or beliefs."

'Too much emphasis on religion'

Durham Free School, which has a Christian ethos and opened in September 2013 with just 94 pupils,

received a highly critical Ofsted report after an inspection at the end of last year.

Ofsted warned that governors put too much emphasis on religion credentials when recruiting staff as well as concluding that the school was failing to prepare pupils for modern Britain.

Last month acting head teacher Julian Eisner

said he was appeal against a government decision to end its funding.

BreakingDurham Free School to close at Easter

The failing Durham Free School is to close at Easter, it has been announced.

It was warned last month that its funding would be axed if it failed to swiftly come up with an action plan to raise standards.

Its funding was then withdrawn.

A new letter, published today, says that Education Secretary Nicky Morgan does not believe that the Trust running the school has shown enough evidence that it can bring about improvements.

Durham free School

Wind turbines plan approved

Plans for three wind turbines which would be the tallest in England and Wales

have been approved in Hartlepool.

Permission was sought for three single turbines at Graythorp Industrial Estate, Brenda Road West Industrial Estate and Tofts Road West.

View from Hartlepool headland showing proposed wind turbines
The Energy Workshop

Originally meant be 200m (655ft) high, they have been reduced to 175m (574ft) following concerns over toppling distance to the nearby railway line. The scheme was approved by Hartlepool Borough Council's planning committee.

£250m science hub officially opened

A pioneering £250m science and engineering hub has been

officially opened in Newcastle.

Science Central, built on the site of the former Scottish and Newcastle Brewery, has been hailed as one of the UK's biggest regeneration projects.

Science Central in Newcastle

Up to 2,000 jobs are expected to be based on the 24-acre site by 2020. The development - a partnership between Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University - was opened by Universities Minister Greg Clark.

Prince Harry in Newcastle

Peter Harris

Look North

Prince Harry, who is in the North East today, has just arrived at Avondale House in Newcastle.

It's a place for veterans and their partners to live while looking for civilian jobs. Here, he's meeting some of those armed forces veterans.

Prince Harry in Newcastle

I'll have more on his visit on

BBC Look North at 18:30 on BBC One.

Young sailor wins award

Callum Doyle, 16, from Wallsend has been named

Royal Yachting Association North East Young Club Sailor of the Year Award.

He began sailing at Tynemouth Sailing Club in 2010 and has sailed almost 2,000 miles. His ambition is to break the 2,500 mark by the end of 2015.

Callum Doyle receiving award
Royal Yachting Association

The RYA Club Sailor of the Year Award is given to young sailors and powerboaters across the NE Region who, in the opinion of the RYA NE committee, have excelled over the previous year in terms of club service.

Hope the puppy re-homed

BBC Tees

We've just heard that Hope the puppy, who was found abandoned on a windswept beach in Hartlepool, has been re-homed.

The under-weight Staffordshire terrier-type bitch which was believed to be eight-weeks-old at the time,

was found cowering among rocks near Newburn Bridge earlier this month.

Hope the puppy

We'll have more on BBC Tees later.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 17:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: Police are still hunting a man who sexually assaulted a teenager in Middlesbrough.
  • BBC Newcastle: Jon Harle and Anne Leuchars have a round-up of the day's news.

Cloudy and windy

Paul Mooney

BBC Weather presenter

Cloudy and becoming increasingly windy overnight with outbreaks of rain. Rain will become heavier and more persistent later in the night with fog on the Pennines. Mild southwesterly winds will be strong with gales on hills.

Weather forecast

Minimum temperature: 5C (41F).

Check the forecast near you.

Prince Harry in the North East

Peter Harris

Look North

Prince Harry has been in the region this afternoon.

His first stop was at Haydon Bridge in Northumberland where he saw the work being done by the county's Wildlife Trust to protect one of England's few remaining red squirrel strongholds. The Prince also visited a residential centre in Byker, Newcastle.

Prince Harry

I'll have more on this story on

BBC Look North at 18:30 on BBC One.

Sunderland agent prosecutes Bolton chiefs

Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside and former manager Sammy Lee have faced court on charges stemming from a 2007 transfer deal dispute with a Sunderland football agent.

They are accused of perjury in a private prosecution brought by Tony McGill (pictured), who claims he was cut out of a £1m deal which saw midfielder Gavin McCann move from Aston Villa to Bolton.

Tony McGill

Former Sunderland player McCann and seven others from the football world have also been charged. No pleas were entered during the hearing at Newcastle Magistrates' Court.

Your photo: Sunset on the marina

Sarah Hobson sent us this picture of the sun setting across North Shields marina.

North Shields marina
Sarah Hobson

You can send your pictures by email to or tweet

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 16:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: The North East and Cumbria has seen a disproportionate increase in hospital admissions compared to the rest of the country.
  • BBC Newcastle: Jon Harle and Anne Leuchars have a round-up of the day's news.

E-fit of man suspected of sex attack

Northern Echo

An e-fit of a man suspected of carrying out a sexual assault in Middlesbrough has been

released by police.

E-fit of man
Northern Echo

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Karanka to analyse 'worst' Boro display

Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka

was unconvinced by last night's 1-0 win against Bolton, describing it as "one of the worst" displays of his tenure.

The result kept second-placed Boro in touch with Championship leaders Derby and three points above Ipswich.

Albert Adomah's first-half goal also ensured a return to winning ways after Saturday's defeat by Leeds United.

"We have played one of the worst games since I came here, and we have won,"

Karanka told BBC Tees.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 15:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: The North East has seen the biggest increase in hospital admissions in the country.
  • BBC Tees: Police have seized more than £100,000 of suspected drugs money from a man in County Durham.

Cloudy and breezy

Lisa Gallagher

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

It will become cloudy and breezy during the afternoon, with outbreaks of light rain arriving in Consett by early evening. A rather chilly day, but becoming milder later as the rain arrives.

Weather forecast

Maximum temperature: 8C (46F).

Check the forecast near you.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Extra police are patrolling an area of Gateshead after reports that two girls were approached by a man.
  • BBC Tees: The North East and Cumbria has seen a disproportionate increase in hospital admissions compared with the rest of the country.

Ant and Dec to host Brit Awards

Geordie TV duo Ant and Dec will be rubbing shoulders with

Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Taylor Swift at this year's Brit Awards, which take place at London's O2 arena later.

The multimillion-selling trio will each perform, while Sheeran and Smith go head-to-head for the night's biggest prize, album of the year.

Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Taylor Swift
Reuters / Getty Images

They also face off in the best British male, best single and best video categories.

Ant and Dec are taking over from James Corden to host the ceremony. It will be broadcast live in the UK on ITV1 from 20:00.

You can also follow live coverage of the red carpet and awards ceremony on the BBC News website from 16:00.

Students launch safety patrols

Up to 50 Durham University students are

taking up roles as volunteer wardens in an effort to prevent further student deaths in the River Wear.

It comes after Sope Peters drowned in October 2013, Luke Pearce died in May 2014, and Euan Coulthard was found dead in January. All had been out drinking.

River Wear in Durham

The volunteers, who have received basic life-saving and alcohol awareness training, will identify people at risk. They will be equipped with radios, first-aid kits, water and blankets.

Has your dog been stolen?

Jonathan Swingler

BBC Tees

Here's a question you may not have been expecting today, but have you had a dog stolen?

I'm doing a feature for TV and radio and I'm looking for your stories if it's happened to you. Please get in touch

via email or tweet me

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Extra police are patrolling an area of Gateshead after reports that two girls were approached by a man.
  • BBC Tees: The Highways Agency says it is to have a full review after major traffic disruption on the A174 parkway.

Orlando City sign defender Seb Hines

Major League Soccer's Orlando City Soccer Club have

signed Middlesbrough defender Sebastian Hines on loan with an option to extend.

Hines joins the Lions after spending half of the 2014 season on loan with Coventry in League One, featuring in nine matches.

'Changes peoples' lives'

The UK has now become the

first country to approve laws to allow the creation of babies from three people.

The fertility regulator will now decide how to license the procedure to prevent babies inheriting deadly genetic diseases.

Sharon Bernardi and her son Edward

Sharon Bernardi lost seven children to mitochondria disease, and told BBC Newcastle "It does change family's lives, now you can plan your baby, have peace of mind. Obviously we don't want to cut baby's lives short because of this disease."

Scientists at Newcastle's Centre for Life could be the first in the country to offer the treatment following a decade of research in the North East.

Attacked OAP 'ready to move on'

BBC Look North

Disabled pensioner Alan Barnes says he is "ready to move on with his life" after a man appeared in court to admit assaulting him.

Alan Barnes

The 67-year-old, who was fearful of returning to his Gateshead home after the attack in January, has begun house hunting thanks to an online fundraising campaign that attracted donations of more than £330,000.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

Karanka hails Boro's 'worst game'

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka hailed his side's 1-0 win over Charlton, saying: "Four days ago, I was saying we had played one of our best games and lost [against Leeds]. Today, we have played one of our worst games since I have been here, but we have won.

"We have fixed one part of our mistakes, and that is the defensive errors. But now we have to fix the attacking mistakes as well because it is not possible to finish the games with a win when we have problems like this."

Boro beat Bolton

Middlesbrough kept pace with Derby at the top of the Championship as

Albert Adomah's first-half goal earned a 1-0 victory over visitors Bolton.

The Ghanaian midfielder fired in his fourth goal of the season from Lee Tomlin's cross.

Albert Adomah
Getty Images

Liam Feeney could have equalised late on for Neil Lennon's side but directed his header wide from six yards out.

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