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  1. Updates on Monday 11 July 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Our updates here have now finished for the day - thank you for joining us. There will be further updates online, on BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees and Look North through the evening.

We'll be back here with more news, sport, weather and travel from across the North East from 08:00 on Tuesday and hope you can join us then.

If you'd like to get in touch you can tweet us @BBCNewsNEemail them, or contact us via our Facebook page.    

Weather: Breezy at first with some sunny intervals and scattered showers

Breezy at first this evening with some late sunny intervals and scattered showers. 

Becoming largely dry, less windy and clearer overnight, and rather cool by dawn. 

weather graphic

Minimum Temperature: 11C (52F).

Rare grass verge flowers 'at risk of disappearing'

Budget cuts are threatening to destroy some flower-rich habitats of the North Penines, conservationists have warned.

The North Pennines AONB Partnership says hundreds of miles of grass verges face being neglected by cash-strapped local authorities who do not consider them a priority.

Grass verge flowers
North Pennines AONB

A spokeswoman said: "Often overlooked, this network of narrow grasslands is home to some of the most spectacular and unusual plants in the UK, but changes in the way verges are being managed means many of the plants are disappearing for good.

“We are concerned that our road-side wild flowers are disappearing because of changes in the way they have been managed in recent years."

Warning to 'freerunning' youths

Youths in Darlington are risking their lives by "freerunning" across empty buildings in the town, police have said.

The warning comes after a spate of reports of young people breaking into disused properties in Gladstone, Northgate, Commercial Street and Union Street. 

Youths spotted freerunning in Darlington
Durham Police

Sgt Louise Guest of Durham Police said: "In the last week alone we have been called to several derelict properties following reports of criminal damage, attempted break-ins and groups of young men putting themselves in danger by leaping across rooftops, sometimes dubbed freerunning.

"I would appeal to parents to help keep their children safe by reminding them of the potential dangers of going into, or climbing on, empty buildings, and also that other people’s property should be respected."

Ex-Newcastle Knights boss Rick Stone moves to Huddesrfield

BBC Sport

Former Newcastle Knights boss Rick Stone has been appointed as head coach of Super League side Huddersfield Giants until the end of the 2018 season.

Giants, who are 11th in Super League and will now compete in the Qualifiers, had been without a head coach since sacking Paul Anderson in June.

Rick Stone
Getty Images

Stone, 49, took charge of Knights for a second time in September 2014, but was sacked in July 2015.

He had previously been Newcastle boss from 2009-12.

Mouth of the Tyne festival: Relive the highlights

BBC Newcastle

The Mouth of the Tyne Festival brought a packed four days of music and entertainment to Tynemouth.

We've put together a page with some of the musical highlights and photos - you can take a look here.

Mouth of the Tyne montage

Murder arrest in missing author probe

Police searching for missing Northumberland-born children's author Helen Bailey have arrested a man on suspicion of murder.

The 51-year-old writer, who wrote the Electra Brown series for teenagers, was last seen walking her dog near her home in Royston, Hertfordshire on 11 April.

A man, 55, from Royston, is being questioned on suspicion of murder, disposing of a body and the theft of Ms Bailey's money.

Police are currently searching her home and a property in Broadstairs, Kent.

Helen Bailey
Hertfordshire Police

Arrests after brawl at children's football game

A teenage boy was one of two people arrested after violence broke out at a children's football match. 

The brawl was sparked at the football tournament at Bishop Auckland College, County Durham, after a parent is said to have stormed on to the pitch and grabbed one of the players. 

The police and ambulance service were called and one boy was reportedly trampled on. 

Bishop Auckland College

Durham Police said following the incident, a 14-year-old boy and a 38-year-old man were arrested and had been bailed pending further inquiries. 

Darlington bus crash: Victim will be 'dearly missed'

A woman who died when a bus crashed into the front of a bank in Darlington say she will be "dearly missed".

Eileen Brennan, 82, died when the vehicle hit a Halifax branch in Northgate on Thursday.

Her family said she was a "beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother who will be dearly missed."

They thanked people for their help and support.

Eileen Brennan
Durham Police

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

Pair jailed for Sunderland street murder

Two men have been given life sentences after stabbing another man to death in a street attack. 

David Walsh, 45, was knifed after intervening to stop his son being targeted in Hendon, Sunderland, on 20 November, 2015. 

Raymond Brown, 37, (pictured left) admitted murder and Charles Lamont, 40, (pictured right) was found guilty at Newcastle Crown Court. 

Brown, of Canon Cockin Street, must serve a minimum of 26 years, and Lamont, of Villette Street, 13 years. 

Lamont's son, Dalton Barnett, 19 and of Fuller Road, was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a six-year jail term.

Raymond Brown, left, and Charles Lamont
Northumbria Police

Drugs valued at £1.5m go up in smoke

Drugs valued at more than £1.5m have been destroyed by police on Teesside who burned them in a furnace.

The drugs, including cannabis plants, crack cocaine and heroin, had been seized across the Cleveland force area over the past 12 months.

Drugs being destroyed on Teesside
Cleveland Police

Det Insp Steve Kappell said: “Today is a culmination of months of work and it shows that we are being effective and are keeping people safe. 

“Seizing these drugs has meant that we have been able to stop them getting on to the streets of Cleveland, into the hands of people who could sell them on and potentially cause serious harm."   

River Tyne sees record fish numbers

Record numbers of salmon and sea trout have been seen passing through a stretch of the River Tyne in Northumberland.

The Environment Agency said that during June, 7,113 fish were recorded crossing the fish counter, the highest June figure since measuring equipment was installed 20 years ago.

Riding Mill
Environment Agency
Environment Agency

The fish counter, which includes video cameras upstream, allows agency experts to monitor the number of fish migrating up the river.

The figure for the first six months of the year is now 8,105.

An agency spokesman said: “This is good news as it indicates healthy stocks and a healthy river. Hopefully this will continue and we’ll have another good year for both fish and anglers.

“‘The figure has exceeded our expectations, we would normally expect to see between 2,500 and 3,500 fish during June."

Police brand play park vandals as 'mindless'

Vandals who damaged a play park in Northumberland have been branded as "mindless" by police.

Safety matting and the concrete foundations of the park at Shilbottle Community Hall in Grange Road were targeted on Sunday.

Northumbria Police said the damage would cost several hundred pounds to repair.

Sam Allardyce: No contact from FA over England job

BBC Sport

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has yet to be contacted by the Football Association about the England job.

It was reported this week that Allardyce would be interviewed about succeeding Roy Hodgson, who resigned after England's Euro 2016 exit.

The 61-year-old is currently in Austria, where the Black Cats are preparing for the new season.

USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann and Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe have also been linked with the job.

Sam Allardyce

Service held for bus crash victim

A service has been held outside a Darlington bank where an elderly woman was killed when a bus crashed into the front of the building.

Eileen Brennan, 82, died when the vehicle hit the Halifax branch in the town on Thursday.

Darlington bus crash service
Flowers at scene of Darlington bus crash

The Reverend Sheilagh Williamson from St Columba's CoE church, who led the short service, said the town had been "devastated" by the tragedy.

She said: "We had the service today because lots of people have been so traumatised by what happened.

"It wasn't just people who saw and heard it that were affected, so we felt we needed to mark that in some way."

The 52-year-old driver of the bus was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and has been bailed.

Andrea Leadsom has 'done the right thing' - Opperman

Hexham Conservative MP Guy Opperman has said leadership candidate Angela Leadson has "done the right thing" by quitting the race for Number 10.

View more on twitter

In a tweet he said the focus for the party was now to "make Brexit work for all".

Mr Opperman has been a supporter of Home Secretary Theresa May for the Tory leadership and next prime minister.

Council HQ sell-off plan considered

Plans to sell off Durham County Council's current headquarters and move to a new £50m base are being considered by councillors later this week.

The authority's base at Aykley Heads in Durham City has been described as "over-sized and inefficient".

Durham County Hall

Officers suggested a move could create up to 6,000 jobs and put £370m into the city's economy.

Cabinet members are due to consider the move on 13 July.

A recent report said the existing complex, which opened in 1963, was no longer fit for purpose and would be attractive to businesses.

Homes to get better flood protection

Almost £900,000 is being spent on reducing the risk of flooding to homes in Wallsend.

The Northumbrian Water project will increase the amount of surface water the sewer system in the Bewick Park area can cope with in times of heavy rainfall.

Flood warning sign

This six-month scheme is in response to problems experienced by residents at the entrance to the estate, whose homes were flooded on several occasions including Thunder Thursday in 2013.

Work started on Monday to construct new surface water sewers on Addington Drive and Middle Engine Lane, as well as in Addington Drive and Bewick Park. 

Revamp plan for former steelworkers' hub

Andrea MacMillan

BBC Tees

A derelict social club on Teesside is set to get a dramatic facelift. 

Grangetown United club was once the central social scene for steelworkers in the 1980s, but when the industry declined the club went with it.

Grangetown Club

The Future Regeneration of Grangetown group (FROG) put together plans to transform the building into a £1m community hub.

So far they have secured £973,000 of Lottery Funding, as well as £10,000 from Redcar and Cleveland Council to get the revamp under way.

Weather: Bright but blustery with some sunny spells

This afternoon will be bright but blustery with some sunny spells but also some heavy showers possible, especially over the Cheviot and Cleveland Hills. 

weather graphic

Maximum Temperature: 20C (68 F).  

Travel: Pictures of broken-down car transporter at Cradlewell

Travel: Broken down lorry causing problems on A1058

BBC Travel

One lane is blocked and there is very slow traffic on A1058 Stephenson Road westbound in Newcastle between Chillingham Roundabout and the A167(M) junction, because of a broken down lorry.  

Arrests after violence at children's football match

The Northern Echo


Violence at children's football matches reached a new low over the weekend when a man and a teenager were arrested, and a young boy needed medical treatment after trouble erupted during an under-15s football tournament.

Northern Echo front page
Northern Echo

Your photos: Flying Scotsman in County Durham

Flying Scotsman is back in the North East - Stan Laundon took this great shot of the famous train at Ferryhill yesterday lunchtime.

The engine, which was retired from service in 1963, has been restored for York's National Railway Museum.

During 2016 it is hauling special tours across the UK and on Sunday it ran between York and Carlisle.

Between 23 and 31 July, it will be taking part in the Shildon Shed Bash when it will be joined by other famous locomotives.

Flying Scotsman in Ferryhill
Stan Laundon

Have you been out to see Flying Scotsman - you can tweet your photos to us @BBCNewsNEemail them, or contact us via our Facebook page.    

Magpies sign Arsenal defender Isaac Hayden

BBC Sport

Newcastle United have completed the signing of Arsenal defender Isaac Hayden on a five-year deal.

The 21 year old has joined up with the Magpies on their training camp in Ireland.

Hayden, who is an England Under-20 international, came up through the ranks at Arsenal before making his debut in September 2013 in a League Cup tie against West Bromwich Albion.

Isaac Hayden

He spent last season on loan at Hull City, making 24 appearances as the Tigers won promotion from the Championship via the play-offs.

"I am still young, but I want to get as many games under my belt as I can and help the team bounce back to the Premier League," he said.

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez added: "We continue with our plan to bring in players who are hungry to succeed and prove themselves, which Isaac really is."

Man accused of women's murder in court

A man accused of murdering two women just minutes apart in separate attacks in Redcar has appeared in court via a videolink. 

Alan Bennett, 34, of Lingholme, in the town, did not enter pleas during the brief hearing at Teesside Crown Court.

Lynne Freeman, left, and Jodie Betteridge
Cleveland Police

He is charged with murdering mother-of-three Lynne Freeman, 46, and Jodie Betteridge, 30 (pictured left to right).

On the evening of 23 March police were called to Mapleton Crescent, Redcar, where Mrs Freeman lived, and then seven minutes later to Ms Betteridge's home in Byland Close.

Family members watched the TV screens from the public gallery which showed Mr Bennett following the proceedings. 

The case was adjourned until 28 July.

Hartlepool stab victim in serious condition

A 25-year-old man is in a serious condition in hospital after being stabbed in Hartlepool.

It happened in the town's Raby Gardens on Sunday afternoon.

The victim, who has not been named, was taken by air ambulance to Middlesbrough's James Cook University Hospital.

Police have appealed for witnesses.

Cisse say he will never forget Newcastle fans as he leaves for China

BBC Sport

Papiss Cisse has said he "will never forget" Newcastle's fans after leaving the club to join Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng.


The striker said on Twitter: "I will be back as a supporter alongside them one day. Every goal I scored in that famous number nine shirt was for them."  

Man denies murder of foster carer Norma Bell

A man has appeared in court to deny murdering a former Teesside foster carer who looked after dozens of children. 

Norma Bell, 79, was found dead at her home in Westbourne Road, Hartlepool, following a fire in April. 

Norma Bell
Cleveland Police

Gareth Dack, 32, of Windermere Road, Hartlepool, appeared at Teesside Crown Court to deny murder and a separate charge of arson being reckless as to endangering life. 

He was remanded in custody ahead of a trial starting on 22 August. 

Mrs Bell had fostered more than 50 children.

Thousands enjoyed Mouth of the Tyne festival

The Mouth of the Tyne Festival came to an end last night after a packed four days of events.

Among the musical performanes were Bryan Ferry, Will Young, James Bay and Lulu.

And there was also street entertainment - like this spectacular performance in Tynemouth's Front Street.

Street entertainers in Tynemouth Front Street

There were plenty of events on across the North East over the weekend - did you go to any of them and have photos you'd like to share with us? In that case you can tweet them to @BBCNewsNEemail them, or contact us via our Facebook page.    

Euro 2016 high for Clattenburg

It was a big night for Portugal who came away with the Euro 2016 trophy last night after their 1-0 win against hosts France.

But it was also a big night for Consett-born Mark Clattenburg who refereed the match, which saw Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo stretchered off.

Mark Clattenburg referees the Euro 2016 final
Getty Images

The 41-year-old Premier League referee officiated at the Stade de France final just six weeks after refereeing Real Madrid's Champions League final win over Atletico Madrid in Milan.

He also took charge of the FA Cup final at Wembley on 21 May when Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 2-1.

Service marks bus crash death

A service is due to take place later outside a Darlington bank where an elderly woman was killed when a bus crashed into the front of the building.

Eileen Brennan, 82, died when the vehicle hit a Halifax branch in the town on Thursday.

Darlington bus crash

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

The ReverendSheilagh Williamson from St Columba's CoE church in the town is leading the short service at 11:00.

She said members of the public were welcome to attend.

Call for 'Seaside Tsar' to bring back glory days

The Shields Gazette

A ‘Seaside Tsar’ could be drafted in to spearhead efforts to bring in more business to shops and offer more to draw in extra visitors to South Shields.

Shields Gazette front page
Shields Gazette

Medical role for fire crews to be extended

A trial which has seen firefighters across north-east England deal with medical emergencies is to be extended.

Since January four fire services have worked with the North East Ambulance Service to respond to life-threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrests.

NEAS ambulance

During the trial, firefighters attended 2,904 patients - more than 1,800 in the Durham and Darlington area.

Ambulance service bosses have now agreed to extend the trial until at least February 2017.

Steve Bruce for England manager - Shearer

Former Newcastle and England striker Alan Shearer has thrown Steve Bruce's name into the hat for the England's manager's job after declaring Roy Hodgson's successor should be an Englishman. 

The Football Association are on the lookout for a new boss to replace Hodgson, who resigned following England's humiliating exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of minnows Iceland.

Steve Bruce

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce and German Jurgen Klinsmann, the current United States head coach, are reportedly frontrunners to fill the vacant position at Wembley. 

But rather than go foreign, like the FA did when appointing Sven-Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello, Shearer insists the new man should be English. 

Call for 'Seaside Tsar' to revive coastal towns

BBC Tees

There are calls for the government to appoint a "Seaside Tsar" to help revive our coastal towns like Redcar (pictured). 

The British Hospitality Association has set out an action plan - which it says would tackle decades of decline.

Redcar seafront

It claims almost 100,000 people are employed in the hospitality and tourism industry in the North East, which contributes £125m pounds to our economy. 

It says with a "Seaside Tsar" even more money could be made.

We'll have more on this story on BBC Tees throughout the day.

Reliving Durham's 'Big Meeting'

Rain didn't dampen the spirits of tens of thousands of people who attended the Durham Miners' Gala on Saturday.

Here are a few images from the event, which featured a defiant speech by under-fire Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Young boys dressed as miners at the Durham MIners' Gala
Getty Images
A Jeremy Corbyn supporter at the Durham Miners' Gala
Getty Images
Jeremy Corbyn at the Durham Miners' Gala
Getty Images