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  1. Updates on Friday 8 July 2016

Live Reporting

By Ana Guerra-Moore

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage throughout the day

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

That's all for today - thank you for joining us.

We'll be back on Monday at 08:00 with the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates. There will be more updates on our radio stations - BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees - online and on Look North over the weekend.

If you'd like to get in touch, you can contact us on Twitter,Facebook, or via email at

Have a lovely weekend.

Weather: Mostly dry tonight

BBC Weather

Any showers soon dying out leaving a fine evening with much of the night dry with some clear spells for a time. However, thicker cloud will bring some patchy rain in from the west after midnight. Staying mild. 

weather graph

Two men face life sentences for Sunderland man's murder

Two men are facing life sentences after stabbing a man to death who was trying to save his son from an attack.

David Walsh, 45, died of 34 injuries, including stab wounds and blunt force injuries, after being found in a street in Hendon, Sunderland, on 20 November.

Raymond Brown, 37, admitted murder and Charles Lamont, 40, was found guilty at Newcastle Crown Court.

Dalton Barnett, 19, was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter. They will all be sentenced on Monday.

Patrick Duggan, 19, of Palmstead Place, Sunderland, was earlier cleared of murder, manslaughter and violent disorder.

'Disgraceful' fly-tipping in South Tyneside

A large amount of waste, including flammable liquids, was illegally dumped at Boldon Nature Reserve on Sunday.

Waste containing flammable materials was also discovered at Boldon allotments on Monday.

Both quantities of waste have since been removed.

South Tyneside Council lead member for area management and community safety, Councillor Moira Smith, described the incident as "disgraceful".

She said: "The fact that this waste contained flammable items and was dumped so close to livestock at the allotments and a nearby factory displays a level of ignorance and irresponsibility that is difficult to fathom."

The waste
South Tyneside council

Warning over potential car-buying scam

A car-buying scam could be taking place in Newcastle, police warn..

Over the last few weeks a number of people have received parking fines through the post. All of the owners contested the fines and contacted Newcastle City Council informing them they had recently sold the cars.

Thinking this was suspicious the council contacted police and initial enquiries showed that all of the cars that had been issued parking tickets had been recently purchased by the same man. 

He replied to adverts about the cars on various websites, and when he came to buy the cars he told the sellers he was from a company called 'M&M' cars, based in the west end of Newcastle. 

Officers can find no trace of the company and enquiries are ongoing.  

Man arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure

A 62-year-old man from the Middlesbrough area has been arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure following recent incidents in Pennyman’s Woods in Ormesby. 

The man is currently in police custody. 

Large cannabis farm discovered in Newcastle

About £500,000 worth of cannabis plants was seized during a raid in Newcastle.

Officers executed a search warrant at an industrial unit off Condercum Road in Benwell, yesterday afternoon.

Once inside they found a large scale professional cannabis farm.

The farm was so large in size that it stretched the entire distance of three of the industrial units.

Cannabis farm
Northumbria police

Campaigns to honour women with statues gain momentum

Statues across the UK are predominantly of men, but campaigns to memorialise important women are increasingly meeting a receptive audience.

Besides the numerous statues of Queen Victoria that dot the British landscape, many memorials to British women are nameless sculptures, typically rendered as naked, curvaceous and reclining.  

Back in March, a campaign was launched to build a statue honouring the achievements by women of Middlesbrough.

There are currently seven statues in the Teesside town, all of which depict men.

Women of Steel statue in Sheffield

Travel: Roads closed in Hartlepool

BBC Travel

A689 Belle Vue Way in Hartlepool closed and there is very slow traffic in both directions between the B1277 Brenda Road junction and the Burn Road junction, because of an accident involving two cars. 

Police directing traffic.

Read more traffic updates here.

Sunderland film to be released

A film exploring the legacy of the Battle of the Somme in Sunderland is soon to be released.

Asunder uses local archive footage to convey the story of the city’s involvement in World War One, from the men who fought in the fields, to those who stayed behind to work in the region’s shipyards and munitions factories.

Here's a look at the trailer:

View more on twitter

Travel: East Coast Mainline trains running again

Virgin Trains have announced that all train lines are now running again on the East Coast Mainline following disruptions due to damage to overhead wires earlier today.

However they say there will still be some delays.

Blind horse dumped

A blind horse was found abandoned in a field near Kyo Lane in Stanley, County Durham, by the landowner who was concerned about the horse's condition and where she had come from. 

RSPCA inspector Catherine Richardson said: "Poor Faith is completely blind, has a large swelling on one of her knees, her hooves are overgrown and cracked and she is in a lean body condition."

Faith the horse

After the vet examined her it was confirmed that Faith was suffering.

Inspector Richardson added: "Faith isn't micro chipped so we currently do not know who owns her, and more worryingly, it looks as if she has had a foal not too long ago so we are concerned as to where her foal may be."

The RSPCA are now looking after Faith, who is believed to be 11.

Man injured when BMW leaves road

A 28-year-old man suffered a broken arm when a BMW came off the road on the A171 Middlesbrough road travelling East towards Guisborough on Thursday evening.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

Hundreds enjoyed opening night of Mouth of the Tyne Festival

Nicki Hornby

BBC Newcastle

Hundreds of people flocked to Tynemouth last night for the opening night of the Mouth of the Tyne festival.

The four-day festival includes concerts in the grounds of Tynemouth Priory and Castle which was kicked off last night with Bryan Ferry and Nadine Shah.

The festival, which runs until Sunday, also features a packed programme of events around Tynemouth.

Mouth of the Tyne festival

Richard Kilty disqualified from European Athletics Championships

Teesside's Richard Kilty was disqualified from the 100m at the European Athletics Championships, after a false start in the final, which had to be restarted.

Only yesterday he won the semi-final in 10.15 seconds, but the Teesside Tornado was given a red card for false starting in last night's final.

It means he won't be representing Team GB in the event at the Olympics in Rio. 

He says he is "heartbroken":

View more on twitter

People react to Newcastle train delays

Damian O'Neil

BBC Look North

I've been talking to the people affected by the severe train delays in Newcastle today.

The problems have been caused by overhead line problems between Morpeth and Alnmouth.

A man who was part of the waiting crowd told me that he didn't know what was happening, and that not enough information had been given to the public.

Others were feeling impatient, as they feared they'd miss important commitments as a consequence of the delays.

Replacement coaches were promised, but had yet to arrive when I was there. Local taxi drivers are therefore hoping for business, offering rides to Edinburgh for £50 per person.

People queuing

EU Referendum vote highlights neighbourly differences

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

Only a few miles may separate their city centres but the views of several neighbours on the EU are not so close. Why would one vote to leave while its near neighbour wanted to remain?

The rivalry between Sunderland on the Wear and Newcastle on the Tyne is well established, even if most only know it for the football.

But it would seem it's not just their sporting allegiances that divide them.

In the EU referendum Newcastle voted to remain while Sunderland was overwhelmingly in favour of leaving, along with the 10 other areas of North-East England.

Click here to continue reading this feature.

Two children playing football
Getty Images

Heart surgery parent defends Freeman Hospital

BBC Newcastle

A father whose son's life was saved by surgeons at the Freeman Hospital's heart unit spoke to BBC Newcastle this morning about the recent concerns regarding the unit.

Ivan Hollingsworth and his wife Nadine have devoted themselves to raising funds and awareness for the children's heart unit ever since their son was a patient there.

NHS England has said Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust will be allowed to keep doing surgery despite failing to meet key standards. It will be given extra support.

Mr Hollingsworth said they are upset about the recent news, but have confidence in the hospital.

He said: "Broadly speaking, the report doesn't tell us all of the things we need to know ... knowing the way the Freeman is, it's never going to be at threat, as far as I understand the Freeman is thriving and going from strength to strength."

Weather: A fine afternoon with some bright spells

A fine afternoon is expected with cloud breaking at times to allow some bright or sunny spells. 

Despite a fairly keen breeze, it will feel warm in the sunshine. 

weather graphic

Maximum Temperature: 20C (68F).

On Look North at lunchtime: Future of heart surgery in Newcastle secured

After many years of wrangling the future of heart surgery in Newcastle appears to have finally been secured. 

After another complex review of services nationally the NHS has decided to close three of its 13 'level 1' heart centres but Newcastle has been given the green light to keep going. 

The same review though also reported that care for heart patients in Newcastle isn't always meeting key standards. Our Political Correspondent, Luke Walton has been guaging reaction at the Freeman hospital.

And rail passengers have been reporting 'chaotic scenes' at Newcastle Central Station this morning after the East Coast mainline became completely impassable heading North. 

Join us for these and all our other stories on BBC One at 13:30.

Darlington bus crash: One injured pedestrian still in hospital

One of the pedestrians injured in a bus crash in the centre of Darlington is still in hospital but a second has been released.

An elderly female pedestrian died when the vehicle hit a Halifax branch in Northgate on Thursday morning. She has not been named yet.

A woman who was seriously injured is in a stable condition in hospital. A man suffered minor injuries and has been released from hospital.

The 52-year-old bus driver who was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving has been released on bail until mid-August.

Chief Insp Graham Milne, of Durham Police, said: "I would personally like to thank the businesses in the area who assisted the emergency services during the incident and the public who have come forward and spoken to us."

Bryan Ferry kicks off Mouth of the Tyne festival

Sharuna Sagar

BBC Look North

I was at the start of the Mouth of the Tyne festival last night.

The headliner was local legend Bryan Ferry - who was born in Washington - who was supported by Whitburn one-to-watch Nadine Shah.

Other perfomances over the four days will include Will Young and Lulu.

Bryan Ferry

Newcastle United sign defender Jesus Gamez

Newcastle United have completed the signing of defender Jesus Gamez from Atletico Madrid.

The 31-year-old Spaniard, who has featured 12 times in the Champions League during his career, has signed an initial two-year contract at St James' Park, becoming the Magpies' fourth summer arrival.

Gamez is said to be excited about the move. 

In a statement released by the club, he said: "We have an exciting project here, to bring Newcastle back to where it belongs: the Premier League, and I am very happy to be a part of that."

Jesus Gamez
Getty Images

Long queues at Newcastle station

Long queues have formed at Newcastle central station, following train cancellations between Newcastle and Edinburgh Waverley.

The problems have been caused by damage to overhead lines.

BBC Newcastle producer Jo Longsdale is there, and has tweeted this picture:

View more on twitter

Travel: Diversion after A69 chemical incident

More on the traffic diversion caused by the chemical incident on the A69

View more on twitter

Travel: Chemical spill on A69

BBC Travel

The A69 eastbound is closed because of a chemical incident between A6079 and A68 / B6529 Stagshaw Road (Stagshaw Roundabout).  

The incident has happened on the Bridge End Roundabout, affecting traffic heading between Haydon Bridge and Corbridge. Diversions are in force.

Tata board meets to discuss UK steel

The board of Tata Steel is meeting in India to discuss the future of its UK steel operations today.

It is expected to "pause" the sale of the main Port Talbot plant, but go ahead with the sale of its speciality business, which employs 2,000 people in Hartlepool, Rotherham and Stocksbridge.

Tata is thought to be in less of a hurry to sell because of rising steel prices and signs of government support.

Tata steel

Hundreds of jobs created with opening of new office block in Newcastle city centre

The Journal


A look at today's front page - and a link to the top story.

Front page
The Journal

Darlington bus crash: Driver released on bail

The driver of a bus which crashed into a bank on Northgate, Darlington, has been released on bail, police said.

The 52 year old was arrested yesterday on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

An elderly female pedestrian died after the vehicle hit a Halifax branch.

Police say they are not naming the victim as they are still contacting relatives.  

Bus crash scene

Travel: Major disruption on East Coast Mainline

Overhead wire problems between Morpeth and Alnmouth means that the line between the stations is currently blocked. 

This is causing disruption to trains between Newcastle and Edinburgh, with some services amended to start or terminate short of the affected area.

Journey times between these stations will also be extended by at least 60 minutes. 

Buses are being organised to run between Newcastle and Edinburgh, though there is currently no estimate as to when they will be made available.

Alternative travel options:

  • CrossCountry passengers may use Virgin Trains, ScotRail, East Midlands Trains, Virgin Trains East Coast, Northern and TransPennine Express on any reasonable route. 
  • Virgin Trains East Coast passengers may use Virgin Trains, CrossCountry, Northern and East Midlands Trains services on any reasonable route. 
  • Northern Passengers may use CrossCountry services on any reasonable route. 

Disruption is currently expected to continue until the end of the day. 

More information on the National Rail Enquiries website.

Travel: Trains cancelled after overhead lines damaged

BBC Travel

Services are suspended on Virgin Trains East Coast between Newcastle and Edinburgh Waverley due to damage to the overhead electric wires. 

Tickets being accepted on First Transpennine Express, Virgin Trains West Coast, East Midlands Trains, Northern and CrossCountry services.

For more updates, here's a link to our travel page.

Life's a beach for Northumberland pupils

BBC Newcastle

We all know how good a day at the beach can make us feel - the fresh air, the sound of the waves and maybe an ice cream in the sun. 

It's healthy fun - but can classes at the seaside also help youngsters learn? Well, teachers at Beaconhill Primary School in Cramlington, Northumberland, think that it can. 

The school has "beach school status" and two members of staff have qualified as beach schools practitioners. 

Our reporter Russ Ward is at Cresswell beach in Northumberland, one of their seaside classes, this morning.

View more on twitter

Victor Valdes: Middlesbrough sign former Barcelona and Man United goalkeeper

BBC Sport

Middlesbrough have signed former Barcelona and Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

The 34 year old, who has played 106 Champions League games, has signed on a two-year deal after being released by United in June.

Valdes becomes Middlesbrough's fifth signing this summer, following Viktor Fischer, Bernardo Espinosa, Marten de Roon and defender Jordan McGhee.

Victor Valdes
Getty Images

Newcastle to continue heart surgery

Sharon Barbour

BBC Look North

Newcastle Hospitals have been allowed to continue performing heart surgery despite not meeting key standards, as it is the only unit in the region.

NHS bosses felt it would not be practical to stop heart surgery there, and this decision will help them reach standards, something which they are close to doing.

County Durham referee in Euro 2016 final

Consett's Mark Clattenburg will referee Sunday's Euro 2016 final between France and Portugal, UEFA has announced.

Clattenburg has taken part in other major football matches, including the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid on 28 May.

Mark Clattenburg
Getty Images

Heart surgery in Newcastle 'failing to meet key standards'

Complex heart care in Newcastle is failing to meet key standards, NHS England says.

Last year NHS England established a set of standards that it wanted hospitals to meet to ensure both child and adult patients got high quality care.  

Three of the 13 hospitals providing complex heart care - in Leicester, Manchester and London - have been ordered to stop doing so amid concerns over standards.

Talking about the surgery in Newcastle it said: 

  • Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust will be allowed to keep doing surgery despite failing to meet key standards because it is the only unit in the region, so NHS bosses felt it would not be practical to stop surgery there. Instead the hospital will be given extra support.

Weather: Breezy at times

BBC Weather

A cloudy start with outbreaks of rain across the region, perhaps heavy in places. Rain will die out from the west during the morning to give some sunny spells and just the odd shower by afternoon. Breezy at times.  

Weather graph

Check the weather where you are.

Tributes left for Darlington crash victim

Messages of condolence have been left at the scene of a bus crash in Darlington, where an elderly woman was killed yesterday.

The elderly female pedestrian died after the vehicle hit a Halifax branch in Darlington on Thursday morning.

The driver of the bus, a 52-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Flowers outside Halifax bank