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  1. Updates on Wednesday 30 March 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Rebecca Turner

BBC North East

Live updates for the North East have now finished for the day. 

We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday with more news, sport, weather and travel - we hope you can join us then.

If you'd like to get in touch you can tweet usemail us, or contact us via Facebook.  

Tonight's weather: Clear skies, light winds

BBC Weather

Remaining showers should die away to leave a mostly dry night with clear spells.

Frost is possible in many areas by dawn, given the largely clear skies and light winds.  

Travel: Heavy traffic on A19 after accident

BBC Travel

There's very slow and queuing traffic for four miles on the A19 southbound in Peterlee at the Passfield Way junction because of an accident involving two vehicles earlier on.

All lanes have been re-opened. Travel time is 20 minutes. Congestion is back to the Hawthorn Services junction.  

There's also slow traffic southbound as people stop to look.

Get the latest travel news for Tyne and Wear and Teesside.  

South Bank factory confirms 'pest activity' led to biscuit recall

Manufacturers Baketime have confirmed that there was an "issue with pest activity" at their premises in South Bank, Middlesbrough.

It comes after the Food Standards Agency said a number of biscuits and snacks sold in the supermarket chain Aldi may have been contaminated.

Baketime says it was first identified back in January, and "immediate steps" were taken together with a "reputable pest control company" to "manage the situation and eradicate it as quickly as possible". 

In a statement, it says further evidence of pest activity was then identified this month "and an intense programme of pest control measures was again implemented".

Following a routine site inspection, Baketime then voluntarily ceased production temporarily.

They say the company also decided to recall product manufactured between these months "as a precautionary measure".

Appeal after five men fight in the street with planks of wood

A group of men were reported to be fighting in the street in Newcastle last night.

Officers believe there were five men involved and that they may have been armed with planks of wood during the disturbance in Hexham Avenue in Walker.

A red Audi A3 was also seen in the area at the time.

Officers are asking anyone with any information to come forward.

County Durham Plan to begin again

The creation of a plan for the future development of County Durham will start again, seven years after the process first began.

County Durham

Durham County Council withdrew its previous plan after it was called "over-ambitious" by an independent inspector.

Though the inspector's report was quashed by the High Court, the council said it would start the plan again.

The old plan had been to build 31,400 homes and create 30,000 jobs by 2030.

Alan Pardew gave 'suspicious evidence' in tribunal over Jonas Gutierrez

Former Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has "knowingly given untrue evidence" at the tribunal hearing winger Jonas Gutierrez's disability discrimination claim, it's alleged. 

The employment tribunal is over Gutierrez's claims that he faced discrimination from the club after he was diagnosed with cancer.

In closing remarks today, the player's barrister Martin Budworth said the case "involved a number of high profile individuals", including former club managers Mr Pardew and John Carver, and managing director Lee Charnley.

He says these witnesses were "not just mistaken" about the case, "but are giving knowingly untrue evidence".

He also alleged Mr Pardew had given "suspicious evidence". 

Jonas Gutierrez
Getty Images

The Argentinian, who has already given evidence to the tribunal, is reported to be seeking about £2m in compensation for his claim.

Sean Jones QC, for Newcastle United, said that the club had not broken any rules in its dealings with the player. The hearing continues.

Missing Gateshead man 'may be sleeping rough'

A man who's been missing since yesterday morning "may be sleeping rough despite the colder weather", police say.

Philip Ramm
Northumbria Police

They're concerned for Philip Ramm's welfare, and that he left wearing "only grey shorts, a white top and black hat - but no coat".

He is white, 5ft 8in, slim and balding. 

BreakingConfirmed - Rob Elliot ruled out for months

Goalkeeper Rob Elliot has injured his anterior cruciate ligament and will be out for months, Newcastle United have confirmed.

A club statement says: "Rob has returned to Newcastle and has been assessed this morning by the club's doctor. He will now commence a programme of treatment and rehabilitation.

"Regrettably, the severity of this injury will rule Rob out for a number of months.

"Everyone connected with Newcastle United wishes Rob the very best for his recovery."

Rob Elliot

Alan Shearer on Rob Elliot: 'Football is cruel at times'

Alan Shearer has shared his thoughts on the "devastating news" that Newcastle keeper Rob Elliot has suffered a serious knee injury ahead of the club's battle to stay in the Premier League:

View more on twitter

BreakingAldi biscuits made in South Bank 'may have been contaminated by pests'

A number of biscuits and snacks sold in the supermarket chain Aldi may have been contaminated by pests, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned.

Customers are being urged not to eat the affected products, made in a factory on Teesside.

The biscuits, including cheese thins, shortbread, chip cookies and fudge brownies, were made by a company called Baketime, based in South Bank in Middlesbrough.

Aldi bsicuits

The products are also sold in small convenience stores around the UK.

Baketime, based at South Tees Imperial Food Park, said it was recalling all the biscuits and snacks as a precautionary measure.

In the meantime they are being taken off sale.

Travel: Multi-vehicle accident on the A1213

BBC Travel

One lane is closed and there's queuing traffic on the A1231 Sunderland Highway westbound between the Nissan Roundabout and Northumberland Way Interchange because of a multi-vehicle accident.  

Get the latest travel news for Tyne and Wear and Teesside.  

No 10 rebuffs Labour plea to recall Parliament

The government has no plans to recall Parliament to discuss the steel crisis, Downing Street says. 

Hundreds of people are employed by Tata Steel at Skinningrove, Lackenby and Darlington.

Earlier Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said MPs should be summoned back from recess.

Gossip Column: Paulo di Canio gives another manager advice...

BBC Sport

A small snippet from today's Gossip Column:

Former Sunderland boss Paulo di Canio has given fellow Italian Antonio Conte some advice about managing in England - "don't do it like Di Canio".(Daily Mail)

Dozens of bags of litter collected in less than three hours in Consett

A spring clean of Consett has resulted in 30 bags of litter being collected in less than three hours.

County Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service says its "big spring clean", which is being carried out by off-duty staff along the coast to coast track, is "still going strong".

Litter picking in Consett
CDD Fire and Rescue Service

Britain's steel industry: What's gone wrong?

Over the past few months, one part of the UK economy, the steel industry, has been grabbing the news headlines, but for all the wrong reasons.

The announcement by India's Tata Steel of its plans to sell its loss-making UK business, putting the jobs of thousands of workers at risk, is the latest and most devastating blow to the industry.

You can see an in-depth report, by BBC Business reporter Tim Bowler, here.

Steel plant
Getty Images

Man airlifted to hospital after fall in sand dunes in Hartlepool

A 62-year-old man from Billingham suffered "significant" leg injuries when he fell on the sand dunes at Blue Lagoon beach in Seaton this morning.

It's an area not accessible by road.

Helicopter on beach

The Great North Air Ambulance Service treated him before he was airlifted to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where he arrived in a "stable condition".  

Elderly woman victim of distraction burglary in North Tyneside

A man knocked on the door of an elderly resident then stole cash from her purse before fleeing yesterday.

It happened in St David's Close in Whitley Bay.

Police say he forced his way into the back garden, knocked on the patio door, then distracted the woman before stealing her money. 

The man is 6ft and about 30 years old and was wearing a navy jacket.

Police concerned after girl goes missing

A 17-year-old girl from Newcastle has gone missing. 

Tamdy Kayemba from Riddell Avenue has not been seen since Good Friday. She is 5ft 6in, of stocky build and with long black tinted hair. 

She was last seen wearing a silver dress, white trainers and carrying a brown shoulder bag 

Police are concerned for her welfare.

Tamdy Kayemba
Northumbria Police

Man denies raping girl near Sunderland car park

A man has denied raping a 15-year-old girl near a car park in Sunderland.

The attack happened at about 22:00 on 27 February on a grassed area close to the city's St Mary's car park.

David Carney of Hart Square, Sunderland, is accused of two counts of rape. He pleaded not guilty to both charges at Newcastle Crown Court on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old was released on bail and is set to appear for trial on 12 December.

Sunderland car park

Video: Hartlepool workers react to concerns over jobs

Lee Johnson

BBC Tees

I've been out at the Hartlepool Pipe Mill too:

View more on twitter

Workers fearing for futures in Hartlepool

Peter Harris

BBC Look North

I've been out at the Hartlepool Pipe Mill owned by Tata Steel.

John Stead and his son work there. They're among 450 workers fearing for their jobs after the firm said it was selling it's UK steel business.

John Stead and his son

Morris back at Boro after loan spell

BBC Tees

BBC Tees Sport

Bryn Morris has returned to Middlesbrough following his loan spell at Walsall. 

He made just one appearance for the Saddlers.  

Newcastle goalkeeper bracing himself for a verdict on knee injury

Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot flew back to the North East this morning bracing himself for a definitive verdict on his knee injury.

The 28-year-old was carried from the field on a stretcher after twisting his knee as he attempted to make a save just 14 minutes into the Republic of Ireland's 2-2 friendly draw with Slovakia at the Aviva Stadium.

Should the damage be severe, Elliot's participation in the last eight games of Newcastle's fight for Barclays Premier League survival would be in genuine jeopardy. 

The Magpies face fellow relegation candidates Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday with first-choice keeper Tim Krul already out for the season and Karl Darlow and teenager Freddie Woodman waiting in the wings. 

Newcastle players have been paying tribute to Elliot's impact:

View more on twitter

Labour leader calls for MP recall over steel industry woes

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for Parliament to be recalled to discuss the crisis in the steel industry.

Bikes to be allowed on the Metro in cycle trial

The Tyne and Wear Metro is holding a limited trial to let people take their bikes on to trains, starting from next week.

It has always allowed folding bicycles, but for six months it wants to see if it can also accommodate normal ones too. 

Woman commuting on bike

Metro says cyclists will use a designated space, near the perch seat, but priority will be given to wheelchair users and customers with prams.

It is also warning that "tandems, tricycles, motorcycles, mopeds and motorised cycles" are not included in the trial. 

Adam Johnson to appeal against conviction and sentence

Former Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson, who was jailed for sexual activity with a schoolgirl last week, has lodged an appeal against his conviction and will also contest his sentence, his sister says.

Adam Johnson

The ex-Boro winger was jailed for six years after admitting grooming and engaging in sexual activity with a teenage fan.

His legal team previously said he would contest his conviction for a further count of sexual activity with the 15-year-old.

Now his sister Faye Johnson has written on Facebook claiming that an appeal against his conviction's been lodged, and that an appeal against his sentence is imminent this week.

Investigation continuing after police shoot man in street

An investigation over the shooting of a 24-year-old man in South Shields is continuing after a 'non police weapon' was found at the scene.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is looking into the incident, in which a man was shot and "seriously injured" by Northumbria Police officers in Frenchman's Way.

It's understood police were responding to a report of an armed man in the street.  

The IPCC says the man is in critical but stable condition at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Shooting scene

Rob Elliot 'could miss all of Newcastle's relegation battle'

Looks like bad news for Newcastle United fans - keeper Rob Elliot could miss Euro 2016 and his club's battle to stay in the Premier League after sustaining a knee injury in the Republic of Ireland's draw against Slovakia, it has emerged.

Republic boss Martin O'Neill described Elliot's injury as "serious".

"It's a real disappointment and obviously a dampener on the evening," said O'Neill after the 2-2 draw.

Elliot, 29, was hurt as he tried to keep out Miroslav Stoch's opening goal in the Aviva Stadium game.

"He was going really well at Newcastle and looking forward to the game and coming here into the squad with a lot of confidence," added O'Neill.

"I have just spoken to the doctor and he's not happy."

Travel: Icy roads in County Durham

BBC Travel

There's hazardous driving conditions on the A689 in both directions between the B6295 junction in Cowshill and the B6294 junction in Nenthall because of ice and snow.

Get the latest travel news for Tyne and Wear and Teesside.  

Did James Cook 'invade' or 'discover' Australia?

A top Australian university has rejected claims it is trying to rewrite the nation's colonial history.

A print from a painting showing Captain James Cook (1728 - 1779) taking possession of New South Wales
Getty Images

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Indigenous Terminology guide states that Australia was "invaded, occupied and colonised" rather than "discovered" by Middlesbrough-born explorer Captain James Cook - who has the town's hospital named after him.

But UNSW says it does not mandate what language can and cannot be used.

MP says 'every option should remain on the table' to save steelworks

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland's MP has demanded that the Government "does whatever it takes to ensure a future for the steel industry in the UK".

Tom Blenkinsop at PMQs

Tom Blenkinsop's comments follow the Tata board meeting in Mumbai yesterday on the future of their UK business, which includes sites at Skinningrove and Hartlepool.

The Labour politician says: "Thousands of workers and their families will have started today in limbo.

"Yesterday was meant to provide clarity over the future of Tata's sites in the UK - one way or another.

"This ongoing uncertainty is a disgrace."

David Wilson murder: Phone call made from dead man's phone

A phone call was made from the mobile phone of David Wilson on the day of his murder, but the call was not made by him, police say.

The 49-year-old was found dead at an address in Southwick Road back in December 2014.

David Wilson

The caller said he was lost and needed to know how to get back to Gateshead from Sunderland.

He said his lift had been unable to collect him as had been arranged.

The caller mentions he is walking towards the Half Way House in Southwick from the Stadium of Light.

Det Chief Insp Mark Ord said this is "the vital piece of the jigsaw to find the person responsible for David's death".

Dozens of cars targeted by thieves in Redcar

Sixty-nine cars have been targeted by thieves across Redcar and Cleveland this month, police say.

Eight vehicles in less than a week were targeted in the West Dyke ward of Redcar, seven of which were left unlocked. 

Motorists are again being warned not to leave valuables in sight, and that insurance policies may not cover items taken from an unlocked vehicle. 

Police say they have made "a number" of arrests.

Your pictures: Clouds over Trow Point

Rebecca Turner

BBC North East

Thank you to Lewis Brown for this photo of Trow Point in South Shields taken last night.

Trow Point
Lewis Brown

If you have any pictures you'd like us to see, you can tweet usemail us, or send them via Facebook.