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  1. Updates on Friday 15 May 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Good evening

That's it for today's BBC Local Live for the North East. We'll be back on Monday from 08:00, we hope you can join us then.

Algae warning

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

Warning notices have been posted at Hemlington Lake in Middlesbrough after the Environment Agency confirmed the presence of blue-green algae in the water.

The algae occurs naturally in warm weather and stable sunshine, with some of the bloom producing a harmful toxin which can kill animals and harm humans.

Hemlington Lake

People are warned to keep themselves and their pets away from the algae.

The algae is likely to subside when the weather cools.

Council stands by plan

Durham County Council says it is disappointed with the inspector's initial assessment of the plan.

The authority had three options:

  • Continue the examination - but the inspector said he would then find the plan unsound;
  • Suspend the examination - but the inspector believed that the plan could not be rectified within a reasonable timescale and would require a significantly different plan
  • Withdraw the plan.

The council had sought a fourth option, a re-examination in public of the plan with the inspector re-thinking his report - but inspector Harold Stephens has rejected that.

Gym fined for blinding member

David Lloyd Leisure has been ordered to pay £96,233 after one of its members was blinded in one eye at its Stockton centre, a council says.

David Lloyd in Stockton

Stockton Borough Council says it prosecuted the company after Mauro Carneiro, 46, from Eaglescliffe, was injured in June 2013.

Mr Carneiro lost the sight in his left eye and has partial vision in his right after a bodycore resistance band broke and hit him in the face.

At Teesside Crown Court today, the firm pleaded guilty to two offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act at Teesside Crown Court today. It was unavailable for comment.

David Lloyd Leisure Limited was fined £40,000 for each offence and was ordered to pay Stockton Council £16,233 in costs.

Fire chiefs back Winkleman plea

Phil Mawson

BBC Newcastle

Fire chiefs in County Durham have backed calls by Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman for tougher tests to be done on children's fancy dress costumes.

Claudia Winkleman

County Durham Fire and Rescue Service was responding to a
Watchdog interview with the presenter, in which she told of horrific injuries sustained by her eight-year-daughter Matilda when a synthetic Halloween costume caught fire.

The inspector's concerns

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online


examining the County Durham Plan, inspector Harold Stephens
reported the following findings:

  • The assumptions about job growth were unrealistic
  • The Strategic Economic Plan is 'evidently very ambitious'
  • The number of houses the council believes are needed is too high
  • The spatial distribution is not justified particularly for Durham City
  • The process and evidence relating to the proposed amendments to the Green Belt boundary are flawed
  • The proposed western and northern relief roads are not justified, deliverable or environmentally acceptable.

Acquittal hope for death row smuggler

Chantalle Edmunds

BBC Tees

The lawyer for a Teesside-born drugs smuggler on death row in Indonesia has said her final appeal case will have

"strong grounds" for her acquittal

Lindsay Sandiford

Lindsay Sandiford, 58, originally from Redcar, is facing death by firing squad but has a six-month window to file her appeal.

Craig Tuck told

Victoria Derbyshire her defence will show she was a vulnerable drugs mule trafficked into Bali.

Shop stops selling 'legal highs'

Phil Mawson

BBC Newcastle

Police say a shop in Newcastle has stopped selling "legal highs" after it was threatened with closure.

Northumbria Police said Ranja News in Bothal Street was warned a closure order application would be made to magistrates if complaints of anti-social behaviour continued in and around the shop.

Officers claimed sales of legal highs substances was directly linked to an increase in low-level crime.

What is the plan?

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

The County Durham plan is effectively the blueprint Durham County Council will use to direct and determine future development.

Under the plan the council wants to build 31,400 homes and create thousands of jobs over the next 20 years to attract more businesses and people to the area.

Durham city centre

But inspector Harold Stephens said the plan was

"unsound" and assumptions about job growth were "very ambitious".

The council had asked him to reopen his examination, but his refusal has prompted today's announcement of a judicial review.

Council is 'disappointed'

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

Mr Thompson said: "It came as a disappointment that the Planning Inspector has now declined to reopen the examination so that our concerns can be fully explored in the public domain.

"We maintain the plan offers the best prospect for economic growth and a once in a generation opportunity to see our county deliver on its potential to safeguard the sort of life we want every resident to have the opportunity to strive for.

"We now have no choice but to pursue this matter through the courts by way of a Judicial Review."

BreakingCouncil takes plan refusal to court

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

Durham County Council is seeking a judicial review of an inspector's decision not to reopen his examination of the "unsound" county plan.


February planning inspector Harold Stephens called the County Durham plan, which is the document guiding future development in the county, "unrealistic and flawed".

Durham County Hall

The council, which is standing by its plan, had asked him to reopen his investigation, but he refused.

Ian Thompson, corporate director of regeneration and economic development at the authority, said the council will seek a judicial review at to court.

Police seize cannabis plants in raid

Phil Mawson

BBC Newcastle

Cannabis plants worth thousands of pounds have been seized by police in Bishop Auckland.

Cannabis plants
Durham Police

Officers from the Durham and Cleveland forces found the plants, with an estimated street value of £4,000, at a property in the town's Helen Terrace, earlier today.

A 44-year-old local man has been arrested at the scene on suspicion of cultivating cannabis.

Safety assessments after student river deaths

Stephanie Finnon

BBC Newcastle

Safety assessments are being carried on rivers and lakes in County Durham following the deaths of three students in the Wear in less than 18 months.

Sope Peters, Luke Pearce and Euan Coulthard have all died over the past 18 months

Sope Peters drowned in 2013, Luke Pearce died in 2014 and Euan Coulthard in January. All had been out drinking.

Durham County Council says it has been given advice from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and is looking at any improvements that can be made.

Some areas have already seen changes with the installation of public rescue equipment and new signs.

Taxi driver sought over sex assault

Phil Mawson

BBC Newcastle

Police are hunting a taxi driver believed to have sexually assaulted a woman in Newcastle.

The 20-year-old victim was attacked in the early hours of 4 May in Osborne Road,

but police have only now released details.

She was not seriously hurt but was left badly shaken. Police have appealed for witnesses.

Memorial wall for lost service personnel

Russell Ward

BBC Newcastle

I've been looking at a memorial wall in Sunderland, where servicemen and women lost in recent conflicts will be featured.

Sunderland memorial wall

Families who have lost loved ones in recent military service are being asked to put forward their names to be inscribed on the Memorial Wall in in Burdon Road, in time for Remembrance Day.

Find out more on

BBC Newcastle.

Latest news

Phil Mawson

BBC Newcastle

Here's today's top stories on Local Live:

Further delay for ex-soldier detained in India

Nicki Hornby

BBC Newcastle

A former soldier from Ashington must wait a further two months to find out if the Indian courts will allow him to come home later.

Nick Dunn

The Supreme Court deferred a verdict on Nick Dunn, who has been in India for the past 18 months.

He was accused of carrying illegal weapons on an anti-piracy ship he was working on.

MP 'saddened' at Umunna decision

BBC Newcastle

Newcastle Central Labour MP Chi Onwurah says she is saddened by the decision of Chuka Umunna to pull out of the party's leadership race.

Chi Onwurah

Ms Onwurah, who has worked with Mr Umunna in the past, said: "Whilst I hadn't decided to back Chuka or any of the candidates so far, I have worked with Chuka in the shadow business team and I'm really sad that somebody feels the kind of pressure that being in a leadership position in the Labour party brings with it."

Mr Umunna announced his intention to quit the leadership race earlier today, saying he us uncomfortable with the level of media scrutiny.

Chickens killed in suspected arson attack

Phil Mawson

BBC Newcastle

Forty-five chickens have been killed in a suspected arson attack on an allotment in Hartlepool.

The incident happened in the early hours of this morning at Thornhill Gardens. The birds were were in a shed.

Cleveland Police says the blaze is being treated as suspicious.

Mother's fear for lung burst son

Sunderland Echo

A mum has

told how she thought her teenage son could die after he underwent emergency surgery when a blood vessel burst in his lung.

Connor Smith and his mother Louise
Sunderland Echo

Connor Smith was at home last Friday when he started coughing up blood. His mum Louise immediately called the emergency services.

Crunch game for Sunderland

Nick Barnes

BBC Newcastle commentator

Here I am prepping for Sunderland's final home match against Leicester City tomorrow.

SAFC match notes

You can hear full commentary live on

BBC Newcastle.

Under-threat library to reopen

Phil Mawson

BBC News

A Newcastle library that faced closure due to council budget cuts is to reopen tomorrow after a deal to run it was struck with Newcastle College.

Denton Burn library is one of several in the city that was taken over by outside organisations. The site has been closed for almost six months.

Leadership battle latest

Richard Moss

Political editor, North East & Cumbria

On this weekend's Sunday Politics we'll have the latest on Tim Farron's bid to become leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Tim Farron
Getty Images

We'll also be in Tony Blair's former Sedgefield constituency, where the local Labour Club is now a carpet warehouse.

Join us on BBC One on Sunday at 11:00.

Accident closes stretch of A19

BBC Travel

A stretch of the northbound A19 has been closed at Haverton Hill, near Stockton, because of an accident.

The incident affects an area near the slip road at Portrack Interchange. There are no reported injuries.

Check the travel conditions where you are.

Burglar 'hit four homes in 30 minutes'

Hartlepool Mail

A serial burglar who invaded

four people's homes in just half an hour has been jailed.

Adrian Golden
Hartlepool Mail

Adrian Golden, 32, was caught inside three homes and another's garden looking for things to steal after he took pills and prowled the streets, a court heard.

Mobile scooter dumped in pond

Hannah McMahon

BBC Tees

Teenagers in Sedgefield, County Durham, have written to a great grandmother apologising for stealing her mobility scooter.

Margaret Pelger, 87, was left unable to leave her home when her scooter was ruined after being dumped in a pond.

Ms Pelger was uninsured and had to pay to replace the vehicle.

Cleveland Police have condemned the actions of the youths.

North East artists named for light festival

Helen Richardson

BBC Newcastle

Four North East artists have been picked to show their work in the Lumiere Festival in Durham later this year.

Durham Cathedral during Lumiere festival
Matthew Andrews

Lumiere has become the UK's largest light festival and attracted 175,000 visitors to the city in 2013. The festival

will run from 12-15 November, its fourth appearance having been held every second year since 2009.

The chosen artists chosen Richard Hornby and Alison Lowery from Durham, Victoria McLeod, also from Durham, Robyn Wright from Darlington and Louise MacKenzie, who moved to the region from Edinburgh.

'Tragedy of loving mum'

The Gazette

Here's today's front page with a

link to the main story.

Gazette front page

Latest news

Phil Mawson

BBC News

Here's today's top stories on Local Live:

  • More than £100,000 has been raised for a Northumberland rugby player living with an inoperable brain tumour
  • Middlesbrough FC are aiming for the Championship play-off final at Wembley when they
    take on Brentford tonight
  • Teenagers in Sedgefield write to a great grandmother apologising for dumping her mobility scooter in a pond

Need to highlight respite care

Hannah McMahon

BBC Tees

The chief executive of Stockton's

Butterwick Hospice has joined others across England in signing a letter calling on the government to ensure there's enough funding for respite breaks.

They say it is vital that families can take time out and rest from caring for a child with a life-limiting condition, while someone steps in for a short time to take over that care.

Graham Leggatt-Chidgey says the work of hospices needs to be better appreciated.

Rugby player fund tops £100,000

Helen Richardson

BBC Newcastle

More than £100,000 has been raised for a farmer and rugby player from Northumberland living with an inoperable brain tumour.

Stu Ridley
Celia Ridley

Stu Ridley, 25, from Tynedale, was diagnosed in February - and told he had less than six months to live.

His friends and family started a campaign called

StayStrongStu to raise money for brain tumour research.

The social media campaign has already gained the support of actor Stephen Fry, former England rugby union star Jonny Wilkinson and cricketer Alastair Cook.

Boro's play-off form

BBC Sport

Ahead of

Middlesbrough v Brentford in the crucial second leg of their bid to reach the Premier League, we take a look at the previous previous play-off form of both sides.

  • Middlesbrough have had one successful play-off campaign and one which ended in defeat. Both came in the second tier
  • Boro won promotion by beating Chelsea on aggregate over two legs in 1987-88 but lost to Notts County at the semi-final stage in 1990-91
  • Brentford have suffered defeat in their seven previous play-offs campaigns, and have lost three play-off finals
  • All of those final defeats have been in the third tier; against Crewe in 1996-97, Stoke in 2001-02 and Yeovil in 2012-13

Tackling the stigma of death

Anna Foster

BBC Newcastle mid-morning presenter

It can be an uncomfortable, awkward, even upsetting thing to talk about, but the fact is, one day it will happen to everyone.

I'm talking about death, dying, end of life. But it's so important that you make the right decisions and make sure your family know and understand your wishes.

On this morning's show we'll be hearing from St Cuthbert's Hospice in County Durham, which has launched a new project with the aim of getting people talking, and getting rid of the stigma.

Latest headlines

Phil Mawson

BBC News

Here's today's top stories on Local Live:

In the papers

The Journal


Here's today's front page from

The Journal.

Journal front page
The Journal

Global support for Boro ahead of play-off

BBC Tees

Middlesbrough fans from around the world have sent us their pictures showing their support for the team's big game later against Brentford tonight.

Middlesbrough fan Mike and friends in San Francisco

Mike posted that he was believing all the way from the West Coast of the United States!

Middlesbrough fan Rory in Egypt

And a big thanks to Rory for believing all the way in Egypt!

Follow all the action with

BBC Tees and on our
Facebook page.

Newcastle United cancel awards party

Phil Mawson

BBC Newcastle

Newcastle United have cancelled their end-of-season awards dinner as head coach John Carver and his players battle to secure Barclays Premier League safety.

John Carver

The event, which would have raised funds for the club's charitable foundation, was due to take place at St James' Park on Wednesday evening, four days before the final-day fixture against West Ham.

However, the parlous on-field situation has led officials to cancel it to ensure the focus remains solely on collecting the points required to avert disaster.

The team is currently languishing

fourth from the bottom of the Premier League table.

Boro's big day: 'We believe'

BBC Tees

A video featuring host of famous faces declaring "we believe" that Middlesbrough can make it to the Championship play-off final has gone viral.

BBC Tees We Believe video
BBC Sport

So far the specially-produced video, which features BBC business reporter Steph McGovern and Teesside-born magician Paul Daniels, has been viewed almost 23,000 times

on Facebook.

A win or draw

against Brentford tonight will book the team a place at Wembley and a step closer to the Premier League.