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  1. Updates on Thursday 2 April 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

Lloyd Watson

BBC News

That's all from BBC Local Live today. Have a great Easter weekend.

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

On tonight's Look North

Jeff Brown

BBC Look North

Four years in prison for the mugger who attacked disabled pensioner Alan Barnes.

A warning to football fans to keep the peace, as the countdown begins to Sunday's Premier League derby.

And digging for victory - the wounded Afghan veterans unearthing the history of the Roman Army on Hadrian's Wall.

Dry with light winds

Paul Mooney

BBC Weather presenter

Mainly dry during the evening with light winds. Cloud will thicken enough by midnight to allow some patchy rain to reach Consett and spread east, becoming a little heavier during the early hours. Increasing amounts of hill fog later in the night.

Weather forecast

Minimum temperature: 3C (37F).

Check the forecast near you.

Pools 'feared' - Moore

Rob Law

BBC Tees

Manager Ronnie Moore thinks Hartlepool United are now feared by the relegation-threatened teams in League Two.

Ronnie Moore

Pools have climbed out of the drop zone courtesy of four successive wins -

they play Newport County tomorrow.

One lane blocked on A19

One lane is blocked and there's slow traffic on the A19 southbound in New York between Holystone Roundabout and Silverlink Roundabout because of a broken down car.

Very slow traffic and heavier than usual traffic on A1045 Thornaby Road southbound in Thornaby between the Trenchard Avenue junction and the A1044 Low Lane junction. More on BBC Travel News for

Teesside and
Tyne and Wear.

Wear-Tyne derby match facts

Ahead of the the Wear-Tyne derby on Sunday, we've been doing some research to give you some match facts about the home side:

•Sunderland are unbeaten in their last six Barclays Premier League games against Newcastle United (W4 D2), winning the last four

•The Black Cats have won four successive league derbies against Newcastle United for the first time in their history

Newcastle v Sunderland
Getty Images

•Adam Johnson has scored three goals and provided one assist in his last four Premier League appearances versus Newcastle United

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 17:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: Council bosses fighting to save their 15-year plan for the future of County Durham have met planning inspectors to try to find a way forward.
  • BBC Newcastle: Jon Harle and Anne Leuchars have a round-up of the day's news.

Middlesbrough teenager missing

Police are concerned about

Warren McAuley Foster, 15 from Grassington Road, Middlesbrough.

He was reported missing by a family member on Wednesday 1 April and was last seen on Saturday 28 March.

Warren McAuley Foster
Cleveland Police

He has dark brown hair which is short at the sides and has a moustache and goatee and was last seen wearing a grey tracksuit top and bottoms. Anyone with information should contact Cleveland Police on 101.

Missing man search continues

The Shields Gazette

Police still searching for a missing former South Tyneside man are

continuing to appeal for the public's help to find him. Daniel Smith, 25, was last seen in Sunderland on Friday 20 March.

Daniel Smith
The Shields Gazette

Meeting to find next move

Claudia Robinson

BBC Tees

Council bosses fighting to save their 15-year-plan for the future of County Durham have met planning inspectors to try to find a way forward.

The County Durham Plan foresees 31,000 new homes and 30,000 new jobs, but it was

rubbished by planning inspector Harold Stephens who said it was "unrealistic".

A council spokesman said the authority is now considering its next move.

Gatiss will have 'time to reflect'

Peter Harris

Look North

I spoke to Alan Barnes after his attacker, Richard Gatiss, was sentenced to four years in jail at Newcastle Crown Court.

He told me: "[The sentence] gives him time to reflect on what he's done... it's a nice length of sentence."

Peter Harris with Alan Barnes

I'll have more on this story on

BBC Look North at 18:30 on BBC One.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 16:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: Council bosses fighting to save their 15-year plan for the future of County Durham have met planning inspectors to try to find a way forward.
  • BBC Newcastle: Jon Harle and Anne Leuchars have a round-up of the day's news.

Lane to remain closed until late

Claudia Robinson

BBC Tees

One lane of the A19 has been reopened but emergency services are still working to recover an overturned lorry.

The road has been closed southbound between the A174 and A67 since the accident this morning.

Police say while one lane is now open, the other will remain closed until about 22:00.

Promotion hopes: Middlesbrough in focus

Chris Osborne

BBC Sport

Last time in Premier League: 2008-09 Ground capacity: 34,988 Record signing: Afonso Alves (£12.8m from Heerenveen, 2008)

Season in a nutshell: Middlesbrough were making it look effortless for so long, losing only one in 18, but are they showing some home-straight jitters?

A former player at Real Madrid, where he was also assistant to Jose Mourinho, Aitor Karanka hopes to join his one-time mentor in the top flight. A fan of punctuality, rotation and detail, the Spaniard is on the verge of earning his shot at the big time.

Dimi Konstantopoulos
Getty Images

Form: Four defeats in eight games might not be the end of the world, but it is dire compared to how good Boro were between October and February. The trip to Watford on 6 April looks very tasty.

See more of my story on the race for the Premier League here.

Dimi 'ready' for home straight

Rob Law

BBC Tees

The Middlesbrough goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos has told BBC Tees Sport everyone at the club is "ready" for the final seven games of the season.

Dimi Konstantopoulos
Getty Images

Boro face relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow followed by a trip to fellow promotion-chasers Watford on Easter Monday.

Teenager donates bone marrow to sister

Sunderland Echo

A devoted teenager

hopes to have given her sister batting cancer the gift of life. Beth Easterbrooke-Smith, 18, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia last November.

Beth and Aimee Easterbrooke-Smith on transplant day
Sunderland Echo

A19 remains single lane near accident

via Facebook

Cleveland Police

write on Facebook: A single lane will be open on the A19 southbound from the A174 turn off till after the accident. This will continue into this evening and tonight.

We are still expecting traffic to be extremely busy around the area, please allow extra time for your journey.

Dry with sunny spells

Kay Crewdson

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

It'll stay dry this afternoon with the best of the sunny spells likely in the east around Sunderland and Seaham. However, sunshine will become increasingly hazy as cloud increases from the west.

Weather forecast

Maximum temperature: 9C (48F).

Check the forecast near you.

Man jailed over street fight death

A man has been jailed for three-and-a-half years after admitting killing another man outside a bar on Wearside.

NE38 Sports Bar, Barmston

John Potts died from a head injury after a fracas with Gordon Robson outside NE38 Sports Bar in Barmston, Washington, in November 2014.

Robson, 26, of Waskerley Road, Barmston, admitted manslaughter at an earlier court hearing.

The race for Premier League riches

Chris Osborne

BBC Sport

In 2014-15, the promotion race is tighter than it has ever been. With seven games remaining, the top eight teams, which includes Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough, are separated by just eight points.

Two teams will go up automatically and one through the play-offs - and the stakes could not be higher. Promotion was

worth more than £130m to clubs last year and is likely to be around the same figure again next season.

Aitor Karanka

We look at why the tussle to claim the Premier League millions is unmissable viewing.

On Look North at lunchtime

Colin Briggs

BBC Look North

A man has been sentenced to four years in jail for assaulting disabled Gateshead pensioner Alan Barnes. Peter Harris will join us live from outside Newcastle Crown Court.

And Newcastle Airport says nearly 50,000 holiday makers will pass through this Easter weekend - one of their busiest times of the year.

Long operation to recover overturned tanker

Lee Johnson

BBC Tees

Cleveland Police says it could take several hours to recover an overturned tanker on the A19 southbound between Middlesbrough and Yarm.

One lane of the road will reopen at 13.30, the other lane will remain closed until 22:00.

There are still significant delays.

Alan Barnes story: Timeline of events

Here is a short look back at how the Alan Barnes story developed over the last few months.

Alan Barnes and Richard Gatiss
PA/Northumbria Police

'So many lovely people out there'

Mr Barnes, 67, has lived with disabilities from birth after his mother contracted German measles when she was pregnant. He is visually impaired and stands 4ft 6in (1.21m) tall.

But now he has a new opportunity in life after Katie Cutler, 21,

began a campaign to raise £500 but ended up raising more than £300,000.

Alan Barnes and Katie Cutler
Getty Images

Ms Cutler, a beautician, said it showed "there are so many lovely people out there". "

Sentence 'sends message to criminals'

The sentencing of Richard Gatiss,

who has been jailed for four years for attacking Alan Barnes, has been welcomed by Northumbria Police.

Supt Richard Jackson said: "This should send a message out to those criminals who think it is acceptable to target the vulnerable.

Ricahrd Gatiss
Northumbria Police

"I'd like to thank the public for their help and support throughout the investigation and I hope that today's proceedings bring some closure to Alan and his family."

Injuries have fully healed

Mr Barnes confirmed his injuries had almost fully healed and he had found a house in Gateshead, that he wanted to buy with the money that had been raised.

Katie Cutler and Alan Barnes

He said: "My injuries have just about 100% recovered. It was my collar bone that was broken, it was a fracture and it's just about healed now, I can lift with that hand now.

"I've found a two-bed terraced house, with a living room and a kitchen. I didn't want too big a house, just somewhere small for a base to work from because I can't stay with my sister forever."

'Not too short and not too long'

In a press conference afterwards, Mr Barnes said he thought the sentence was the right length of time and he hoped Gatiss would "do some thinking" while he was in prison.

He said: "I'm pleased he's been sentenced and I think the sentence of four years is not too short and not too long. I hope while he's in prison he'll do some thinking and when he comes out he'll do something useful. Maybe he might decide to help people, which I think would be a good idea for him."

Katie Cutler and Alan Barnes

"But I've moved on, I'm doing something else now, I'm working as an ambassador for the Katie Cutler Foundation, and we're hoping that the public will support us."

Gatiss 'pushed Alan's head'

Peter Harris

Look North

Although Gatiss had wept during previous court hearings, he

did not visibly react when he was sentenced to four years in jail at Newcastle Crown Court.

Nick Dry, prosecuting, said Gatiss pushed the top of the frail pensioner's head, forcing him to the floor and rummaged through his pockets after he failed to withdraw £10 from a cash point.

The broken collar bone stopped Mr Barnes washing or eating by himself.

Alan plans to use money for new house

Mr Barnes plans to use some of the hundreds of thousands of pounds raised by well-wishers to buy a new home as he does not want to return to the area of Gateshead where he was attacked.

Katie Cutler and Alan Barnes

At the presentation of the £300,000 raised, he said he "didn't expect that sort of response".

Alan Barnes: Last few months ' have been a rollercoaster'

Peter Harris

Look North

Mugging victim Alan Barnes faces the media alongside Katie Cutler, who set up the fundraising for him, after the man who attacked him was jailed for four years.

Katie Cutler and Alan Barnes

He says the last three months have been a "roller coaster" after the attack by Richard Gattiss.

How Alan Barnes' story went global

Alan Barnes' story touched a nerve with Gateshead woman Katie Cutler, who decided to set up a fundraising page to help the vulnerable pensioner.

And the response was amazing - nearly 25,000 people from across the world donated money, eventually raising £330,135.

Alan Barnes and Katie Cutler

They eventually met for the first time in February.

'Deeply ashamed'

Last month Newcastle Crown Court Jamie Adams, defending Gatiss, said: "He wishes me to say at this stage that he is shocked, horrified and deeply ashamed of what he did.

"He has not stopped thinking about Mr Barnes since this awful deed."

He said he had been segregated in prison because of the way people felt about him.

Attacker's father calls for legal high ban

Peter Harris

Look North

Karl Gatiss, the father of Richard Gatiss who has today been

jailed for four years after attacking pensioner Alan Barnes, said he wants legal highs to be stopped from being sold in the North East.

However, he refused to comment on son's sentence in Newcastle Crown Court.

Targeted for 'vulnerability'

Peter Harris

Look North

Judge Paul Sloan QC said the attack by Richard Gatiss on pensioner Alan Barnes was "despicable".

He said: "I have no doubt he was picked on by you because of his vulnerability. It was on any view a despicable offence."

Read the full story here.

'Legal highs played a part'

The court heard Gatiss used legal highs and had wanted money for drugs.

Richard Gatiss
Picture from Facebook

At an earlier hearing, prosecutor Keith Laidlaw said: "Legal highs played their part in this. There is also possession of cannabis on his record and there is a drugs background."

Gatiss pushed Mr Barnes to the pavement outside his home in January and told him to hand over his money but his victim said he had none and Gatiss then ran off.

Assault with intent to rob

Alan Barnes, 67, was knocked to the ground outside his Gateshead home in January and his collarbone was broken.

Alan Barnes

Richard Gatiss, 25, from Gateshead, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to rob at Newcastle Crown Court in February. He has been jailed for four years.