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  1. Gazza; Phone hackers ruined my life
  2. A1 works cause congestion 'surge'
  3. Six blocks of flats face demolition
  4. Trio take part in genomes project
  5. Updates on Wednesday 11 March 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Good evening

That's all from Local Live in the North East today.

We'll back from 08:00 tomorrow with news, sport, travel and weather updates from across the region.

Coming up on BBC One

Carol Malia

BBC Look North presenter

On tonight's BBC Look North at 18:30 we meet the the gene detectives and find out how the region is leading the way in the science of tracking down genetic diseases.

And also in the headlines: Who saw what? the trail of the Top Gear "fracas" leads to the Yorkshire Dales.

Skies clearing

Paul Mooney

BBC Weather presenter

Rain will quickly clear eastwards with winds easing to calm during the evening.

Increasingly clear skies will allow some patchy frost to form by dawn.


Faeces-filled balloons thrown at social club

The Shields Gazette

A man who had been barred from the Royal British Legion Club in South Shields splattered it with balloons full of faeces.

Charles McGeary was given a 12-month probation order and placed on a curfew by magistrates after admitting criminal damage.

He was also ordered to pay the social club £1,000 in compensation.

Hospital's IVF clinic opens

A new purpose-built IVF unit has opened its doors at a Teesside hospital.


The new facility at the James Cook University in Middlesbrough

brings all reproductive medicine services together in one place.

The unit was previously divided into different sites within the hospital and shared a theatre with obstetrics and the gynaecology day unit.

Whitley Bay promenade demolition plans cause anger

The Chronicle


Campaigners have told of their disappointment

after proposals to demolish a seaside promenade were included in a coastal regeneration plan.

North Tyneside Council's Cabinet has approved the £36m Whitley Bay Seafront Master Plan, which will act as a blueprint for the coast's transformation from the southern lower promenade to St Mary's Lighthouse.

It proposes a £1m visitor centre at St Mary's Headland, improvements to Watts Slope, refurbishments at the Spanish City Dome, landscaping and extra lighting.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 17:00 are:

Bright lights to boost park safety

Brighter lights are being installed to improve safety at a popular South Shields recreation ground.

Old lampposts at Temple Memorial Park are being replaced with eco-friendly LED lanterns

Street lighting
South Tyneside Council

South Tyneside Council said the £50,000 scheme followed concerns raised about community safety and anti-social behaviour in the area.

How can Sunderland be more like Hull?

Jon Harle and Anne Leuchars

BBC Newcastle

Coming up from 16:00 on BBC Newcastle, we'll have more on Sunderland's bid to be named UK City of Culture for 2021.

We'll be hearing from experts in Hull, which was awarded the coveted accolade for 2017.

The government chooses a new destination every four years, with the aim of helping tourism and the economy. You can

listen live by clicking here.

Brothers benefit is DNA study

Here's more on the groundbreaking DNA genome project announced earlier.

Patients to benefit include brothers William, 79, and Alan Carpenter, 72, who have been diagnosed with an inherited nerve disease discovered by scientists based at Newcastle's Centre for Life.

Centre for Life
Centre for Life

"There is no particular cure for my illness. However, I wanted to be part of the 100,000 Genomes Project as it will help future generations in the long-term," said William.

The Genome Project involves determining the sequence of 100,000 individuals' genes in order to help fight genetic diseases.

The siblings, both from North Shields, will take part in a treatment trial which, if successful, could prevent other members of their family developing the same condition.

Dark skies over County Durham

Tracey Laing has sent us this picture of stormy skies at Consett.

Stormy skies over Consett
Tracey Laing

If you've got a photograph you'd like us to feature, send it to

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.

Boy hit by taxi remains in critical condition

The Gazette

A four-year-old boy is still

fighting for his life in hospital today after being hit by a taxi.

The youngster is in a critical but stable condition following the collision in Pallister Park, Middlesbrough.

Emergency services were called to Cotswold Avenue at about 5.20pm on Sunday.

First look at new school building

Earlier we told you Newcastle High School for Girls has been granted planning permission to redevelop the former Church High School site on Tankerville Terrace in Jesmond.

An artist's impression of the building at the former Church High School site in Jesmond
Newcastle High School for Girls

Here's an artist's impression of how part of the site will look following the construction of a new building.

It will include an assembly hall and performance space, dining room, fitness suite, dance and drama studios, music rooms, science laboratories and general classrooms.

Police officer forced to retire

Neil Green

BBC Tees

Coming up on

BBC Tees after 16:00 I'll be speaking to a former Cleveland Police officer who claims he was forced to retire.

This comes as

more than 50 officers seek compensation from the force after being made to retire under the controversial A19 regulation.

The officer I shall be speaking to believes Cleveland Police has lost some of its most talented officers this way.

Arrests follow bookmaker robbery

Three men have been arrested after a

robbery at a bookmakers in South Shields, Northumbria Police say.

A 24-year-old and a 32-year-old have been arrested on suspicion of robbery following the incident at Chisholm Bookmakers, in Fielding Court, on Saturday.

A 53-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. All three have been bailed pending further inquiries.

MV Seaman Guard Ohio crew 'must be allowed home'

Two maritime campaign groups are

calling for a Northumberland man detained in India to be allowed to return home.

Nick Dunn

Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) and The Mission to Seafarers (MtS) have issued a global plea for action for the crew of US ship the MV Seaman Guard Ohio, which included Nick Dunn, of Ashington.

They were arrested more than 500 days ago for illegal possession of weapons, but charges were dropped last July.

They have had their passports confiscated, however, while prosecutors consider an appeal.

University confirms appointment of vice-chancellor

Teesside University has announced the appointment of its new vice-chancellor and chief executive.

Prof Paul Croney will take over from Prof Graham Henderson, who is stepping down after 12 years at the helm.

Prof Croney will join from Northumbria University, in Newcastle, where he has held a number of roles. He will take up post from 1 May

Gazza: Hacking left me paranoid

You can read more on Gazza's evidence at the High Court by

clicking here.

Paul Gascoigne

The former Newcastle United and Middlesbrough footballer, who in recent times has been battling alcoholism, told London's High Court that journalists had "ruined his life" by hacking his phone messages.

Mirror Group denies phone hacking was carried out by "scores" of its journalists, as the court had previously heard, and said it was carried out by a "trusted inner circle".

Stockton's fears over Channel 4's Benefits Street

People living in Stockton are dreading the new series of Benefits Street, according to The Guardian today.

Filming of Benefits Street in Stockton

Community leaders told the newspaper they

feared being exploited for the sake of entertainment.

Filming has finished but a transmission date has yet to be confirmed by Channel 4. The first series, which centred on an area of Birmingham, stirred much debate with some critics labelling it "poverty porn".

Two charged over Gateshead assault

Two men have been charged following an assault in Edgeware Road, Gateshead, yesterday.

Northumbria Police said a 24-year-old, of Edgeware Road, and an 18-year-old, of Gower Walk, have been charged with wounding with intent and will appear before Gateshead Magistrates Court today.

Early sightings of Farne Islands puffins

Warm temperatures have seen puffins returning to their breeding grounds on the Farne Islands, the National Trust says.

Farne Islands puffins
National Trust

Sightings of puffins have been confirmed by boat companies operating from Seahouses harbour in recent days - nearly three weeks ahead of the birds' usual return date at the end of March.

Becky Hetherington, the trust's head ranger for the Northumberland coast, said: "If the mild weather continues it could very well indicate the start of a successful breeding season."

The Farne Islands are home to about 40,000 pairs of puffins during spring and summer.

On the roads

Things seem to be running pretty smoothly on the roads across Tyneside this lunchtime.

Over in Durham,

BBC Travel is reporting congestion both ways on the A690 at Milburngate Bridge.

Gazza: Phone hackers ruined my life

More from Paul Gascoigne's appearance at the High Court phone hacking trial.

As he became more emotional on the stand, Mirror Group's legal team asked for a brief adjournment and on returning to court decided not to cross-examine Mr Gascoigne.

On being told he could leave, he said: "I've waited 15 years to be sat here and I'm disgusted." Fighting back tears, he added: "I would like to trade my mobile in for a coffin because these guys have ruined my life."

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 12:00 are:

  • BBC Tees: Middlesbrough have refused to comment on reports linking them with a move for Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes.
  • BBC Newcastle: Sunderland councillors will decide today whether to put together a £300,000 bid to win the title of UK City of Culture 2021.

Taking a stand

Ever complained that your local councillor doesn't seem to find the same things important as you do?

How about becoming one yourself, then?

Hartlepool Civic Centre

Anyone interested in standing for election as a councillor in the forthcoming borough elections in Hartlepool can go to a special meeting on Saturday at the Civic Centre, Victoria Road. It starts at 10:00.

Planning go-ahead for Newcastle school

Newcastle High School for Girls has been granted planning permission to redevelop the former Church High School site on Tankerville Terrace in Jesmond.

A senior school campus will be created on the three-acre site to accommodate 700 pupils when it is finished next year.

The Victoria building facing Tankerville Terrace will be refurbished with a stand-alone three-storey building constructed within the grounds housing an assembly hall and range of learning spaces.

Gazza gives evidence at phone hacking hearing

Former Newcastle United and England footballer Paul Gascoigne this morning told the Mirror Group phone hacking trial at the High Court in London he was "scared to speak to anybody" over the phone during the 10 years his voicemail was hacked by journalists.

Paul Gascoigne arrives at the High Court in London for the Mirror Group phone hacking trial

As he took the stand, Mr Gascoigne said "I'm fuming... it was just horrendous... people can understand why I became an alcoholic".

He said he had sometimes changed his phone several times a month, adding: "I knew I was getting hacked, no-one believed it".

Pubs selling "screen wash" face losing licences

The Chronicle


Two bars

selling vodka containing the same chemicals as screen wash could be set to be stripped of their drinks licence.

Coach and Horses pub, Consett
The Chronicle

Police have submitted applications for the Coach and Horses and Chaplains in Consett to both be stripped of their alcohol licences after raids on 8 November later revealed the bars to be selling vodka of "industrial" origin.

A meeting of Durham County Council's licensing committee will decide whether the bars, owned by Sukhdev Singh Gill, will be allowed to continue serving alcohol.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 11:00 are:

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.

Judge quashes former Darlington shop owner's assault conviction

Northern Echo

A former Darlington shop owner convicted of common assault has had her conviction quashed.

Kate Saint
Northern Echo

It came after a judge questioned why the case ever came to court in the first place.

Kate Saint was convicted of attacking council worker Sharon Gilligan following a magistrates' court trial, but won an appeal against the verdict at Teesside Crown Court.

Trio take part in genomes project

Three North East men are the first patients to be diagnosed with rare diseases after volunteering to have their complete genetic codes mapped.

Researcher examining a three-dimensional model of DNA
Science Photo Library

It's part of the ground-breaking 100,000 Genomes Project which is designed to analyse DNA to transform the way some diseases are treated. Much of the work is being conducted at Newcastle's Centre for Life,

The men are from Tyneside, from two families, and scientists found genetic flaws or mutations associated with their conditions.

They will now be eligible for personalised treatment designed to target their genetic defects or help future generations of their relatives.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 10:00 are:

Morning wildlife

Lee Brown sent us this photo of wildlife at Tynemouth Pier.

Lee Brown

If you'd like us to feature your pictures, send them to us by

email, or tweet us

Mother tells of neighbour’s terrifying house call

Sunderland Echo

A mother has spoken of the horrifying moment

a man armed with six knives brandished them at her front door.

Thomas Hetherington
Sunderland Echo

Nicola Robinson, 40, says she feared for the safety of her 12-year-old son when Thomas Hetherington banged on the door of her home in Neville Court, Washington, waving the weapons.