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Our live coverage throughout the day

Julie Cush

BBC Newcastle

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

We'll be back on tomorrow at 08:00 with the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates. 

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

Dog takes a dip on hottest day of the year

Paul Mooney

BBC Weather

There have been highs of about 30C this afternoon in some parts of the North East.

But this pooch had the best plan to stay cool:

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Funeral held for festival death teenage girl

Sunderland Echo


Sam Allardyce says hamper con accused was 'extremely smart'

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has told a court a fraudster who conned him out of thousands of pounds was "extremely smart".

Stephen Ackerman, pictured below, is accused of defrauding the ex-West Ham boss and players by selling them hampers that never arrived.

The 48-year-old, of Loughton, Essex, denies 19 fraud charges with the proceeds totalling more than £60,000.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard £13,270 was taken from Mr Allardyce.

Stephen Ackerman

Speaking via videolink, Mr Allardyce - who is in talks with the Football Association to be the next England coach - said: "I went and chatted away with, obviously, Stephen and... talked about champagne and wine which he said he could get.

"I said he could then deal with Anita, my PA, for the payment of those goods. Then I went off training with the lads."

He bought six bottles of Laurent Perrier rose champagne and six bottles of Sancerre wine totalling £270, jurors were told. He then became aware of unauthorised fraudulent activity totalling £13,000 over the next few days.  

Muggy and stormy night after blistering heat

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

After the intense heat, there are bands of rain waiting in the wings. 

It is hard to believe there is actually a weather warning in place for heavy rain which comes into force at 17:00.

Throughout the region temperatures have nudged up to 30 degrees, but throughout the evening, cloud will build with thunderstorms bubbling up overnight. 

By rush-hour tomorrow it will still be muggy, but surface water may be an issue throughout the day with sporadic downpours. 

Check out the weather near you.

Abbie Dewhurst

Expanded Metro service approved subject to finding £1bn of funding

The North East Combined Authority has approved the extension of the Tyne and Wear Metro system, subject to receiving about a billion pounds worth of funding.

It is talking about introducing trains to Newcastle's West End, the Metro Centre in Gateshead, and up to South East Northumberland and down to Durham. 

The plans also include a new bridge over the River Tyne, extending the line from Sunderland into Washington and running direct trains between South Shields and Wearside. 

Huw Lewis from Nexus, which operates the Metro system, said: "The most challenging aspect of this will be winning the funding for the ambitious plans.

"This is an important decision that will let us work out the detail to demonstrate the huge, potential benefit for the region from extending the local rail services with the Metro at the heart."


Durham beat Lancashire by two wickets

Martin Emmerson

BBC Newcastle

Durham have moved to within 13 points of leaders Middlesex after a tense two-wicket win against Lancashire in Southport.

Chasing 247 to win, they cruised to 170-2 before a collapse saw them lose 5-25 in 11 overs to tea.

Needing 50 to win in the final session Ben Stokes and Adam Hickey added 48 runs before Stokes was run out on 36 and Chris Rushworth came in to score the winning four.

Earlier Keaton Jennings made 82 and Jack Burnham 52 in a third wicket partnership of 123, but their dismissals an over apart started the collapse.

Chris Rushworth
Getty Images

Picture released of 'Good Samaritan' taxi driver killed in crash

Police have released a photograph of a taxi driver who was killed at the weekend trying to help at a crash scene. 

David Hope
Hope family

David Hope, 43, reported a car had hit the central reservation on the A19 in North Tyneside on Saturday.

Mr Hope, from Wallsend, got out of his vehicle on the dual carriageway near Killingworth.

A 24-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

New Metro routes could include Ferryhill and Washington

Fergus Hewison

BBC Newcastle political reporter

The North East Combined Authority is discussing the future of the Metro system including expansion in to Washington, Ferryhill in Durham and Woodhorn in Northumberland. 

Here are some of the proposals for where the system might expand and link up with other rail networks:

Metro expansion

The meeting is told there's huge investment needed in the existing Metro. It needs £536m for fleet replacement and £518m for infrastructure, documents say.

Pupils get chance to demolish school

Two pupils demolish their 50-year-old school in Billingham after it was deemed to be not fit for purpose.  

Billingham school demolished by two pupils

North East civic leaders to push government on devolution cash

Fergus Hewison

BBC Newcastle political reporter

I'm at the North East Combined Authority meeting. 

There is disagreement over how to move forward until assurances from the government is given on funding and powers after the vote to leave the EU. 

The authority has voted five to two to seek further reassurances from the government that the terms of the existing deal will be honoured post-Brexit. 

Author's boyfriend in court charged with her murder

The partner of Northumberland-born children's author Helen Bailey has appeared in court via videolink charged with her murder. 

Ian Stewart, 55, of Baldock Road, Royston, spoke only to confirm his name during the short hearing at St Albans Crown Court this afternoon. 

He spoke via video link from HMP Bedford wearing a grey T-shirt and could be seen shaking his head often during the eight-minute hearing. 

Stewart was arrested by Hertfordshire Police when the body of the 51-year-old writer was found in the garden of her sprawling home in Royston on Friday. 

Ms Bailey's body was found in a septic tank at the property alongside her dog. 

 Post-mortem examinations have been carried out on Ms Bailey and her dog but are awaiting further tests. 

Helen Bailey

Man 'ripped' veil from Muslim woman

A man accused of ripping a niqab from a Muslim woman in a Sunderland shopping centre and shouting racist abuse is to face a crown court hearing. 

Peter Scotter, 55, is charged with racially aggravated common assault on the woman, who was with her nine-year-old daughter, on 3 July. 

Peter Scotter,

Magistrates in Sunderland heard the alleged incident at the city's Bridges centre, left the woman with neck pain. 

The case was referred to Newcastle Crown Court for a hearing on 16 August. 

Mr Scotter, of Beach Street, Sunderland, did not enter a plea during the brief hearing.

Photo shows crash between three lorries on A1

Gateshead Police have released this photo of the crash on the A1 Western Bypass this morning:

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BreakingAuthor's body 'in sceptic tank with dog's remains'

The body of Northumberland-born author Helen Bailey was found in a sceptic tank at her Hertfordshire home along with her pet dog, St Albans' Crown Court has been told. 

The 51-year-old's partner Ian Stewart has been charged with her murder after her remains were found at her Royston home. 

The 55-year-old of Baldock Road, Royston, has also been charged with perverting the course of justice and preventing lawful burial.

Helen Bailey
Hertfordshire Police

More on 'record-breaking' Star Wars memorabilia auction

The French-made Boba Fett toy - modelled from a character in the second film in the high-grossing franchise - is just 3 3/4 ins high, 

Another unpainted prototype version was estimated at £15,000 and was sold for £18,000, including fees.

Prototype and unpainted Boba Fett toy

Lorry stuck going under 11ft 6in bridge

Gill Stevas snapped this picture of a lorry getting trapped near Newcastle Business Park. 

She said the roof appeared mangled, but the driver seemed unhurt.

The emergency services are currently at the scene.

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Millions to be spent on Northumberland flood defences

Plans to invest millions improving flood defences in the region have been welcomed by Northumberland County Council.

The Northumbria Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (NRFCC) has announced plans to spend £24m in the coming year protecting hundreds of homes across the region – including in Northumberland.

The committee, set up by the Environment Agency, also announced in its 2015/16 annual report that it has overseen 125 projects costing £27m over the past year.


These include the completion of the Morpeth flood alleviation scheme's upstream dam and storage area - which was activated for the first time in January 2016. 

Council leader Grant Davey said: "Protecting and improving the infrastructure of all our towns is vital if they are to continue to flourish and a number of important schemes are in the pipeline for the coming year."

Charges after raid at North Tyneside shop

A man has been charged after a North Tyneside corner shop was raided. Northumbria Police said the Nisa store on Tynemouth Road in Wallsend was targeted on Sunday evening. 

A 39-year-old man has been charged with robbery and carrying out threats with an offensive weapon. 

He is due to appear before North Tyneside magistrates later. 

Ten years ago: Stokoe statue unveiled

Lloyd Watson

BBC News Online

Ten years ago a statue to former Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe was unveiled. He was in charge of the Black Cats when they won the FA Cup in 1973. 

He died in 2004 at the age of 73.  

Watch the video below.

Statue to former Sunderland manager unveiled 10 years ago

Volunteers needed to help out Cleveland Police

Cleveland Police needs "new recruits" to help to a range of jobs including liaising with schools and checking force cars are up to scratch.

The community support volunteers will help police officers and PCSOs and duties could include helping with crime prevention campaigns, school liaison and engaging with hard to reach groups.

Anyone interested should go to the Cleveland Police website at from next Monday, 25 July, and click on the Careers tab near the top of the page.  

World record claim at Star Wars memorabilia auction

Auctioneers Vectis claim a figure of Boba Fett from the Star Wars on sale on Teesside has gone for a new record of £26,000. 

It was estimated to fetch just £5,000.

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Cricket fans brandishing brollies in the heat

Martin Emmerson

BBC Newcastle

BBC Newcastle cricket commentator Martin Emmerson is taking cover from soaring temperatures as Durham take on Lancashire.  

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New attraction to coax children to Quayside

'Lack of evidence' forces Northumbria Police to drop thousands of cases

Northumbria Police has dropped the highest percentage of criminal cases in England and Wales due to lack of evidence, BBC research has revealed. 

From 2014 to 2015, the force prosecuted 22,931 people, but dropped 2,688 cases. 

In England and Wales, insufficient proof saw criminal proceedings against 52,288 people abandoned in 2014-15, compared with 38,132 in 2012-13.

The Durham force had the fourth highest rise in prosecutions dropped for lack of evidence. 

Scales of Justice

Jail for McDonald's canister prank pair

A Newcastle man is one of two people who have been jailed after a canister was set off in a fast-food restaurant in Stafford.

Two girls aged 17 and 18, were taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital with respiratory and abdominal issues after the incident at McDonald's in April.

Canister incident
West Midlands Ambulance Service

Christopher Wardle, 25, of Barrack Road, Newcastle, and Spencer Benham, 23, of Wilberforce Road, Leicester, pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon.

The were both jailed for 10 months at Stafford Crown Court.

Steve Bruce in talks over England manager job

Northumberland-born Hull boss Steve Bruce has been interviewed by the Football Association about the vacant England manager job on Monday.

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has also been interviewed and is favourite to succeed Roy Hodgson, who resigned after England lost to Iceland at Euro 2016.

Steve Bruce

Bruce, 55, led Hull back into the Premier League last season after relegation to the Championship in 2015.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe and USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann have also been linked with the role.

What now for the Northern Powerhouse?

Former chancellor George Osborne peppered media interviews with references to the "Northern Powerhouse", but what's next for the idea since his departure?

In a 2014 speech, Mr Osborne said: "I'm here to talk to you today about what we can do to make the cities of the north a powerhouse for our economy."

Northern Powerhouse composite

The project, which he branded as his own initiative, was aimed at ending the UK's economic reliance on London.

Following Theresa May's Cabinet Reshuffle, Conservative MP Andrew Percy has been appointed as the new Northern Powerhouse minister.

So what's the future of this key Conservative manifesto pledge?

Allardyce and Carroll 'conned out of thousands of pounds'

A man allegedly lured former Newcastle United striker Andy Carroll and manager Sam Allardyce into buying luxury hampers at Christmas in 2014 which were never delivered, a court heard.

Stephen Ackerman allegedly targeted them outside West Ham, where they were both employed, and then used the bank card details to spend thousands of pounds, a jury heard.

A group of 13 people, including Allardyce and Carroll, allegedly paid out £7,310 in total.

Mr Ackerman pleaded not guilty to fraud at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

The plea, entered in March, related to 13 counts of fraud and on Monday he denied six further counts of fraud, totalling around £54,730.

The trial continues.

Andy Carroll
Getty Images

Plans to extend Metro services discussed

Colin Briggs

Look North

Plans which could see the Tyne and Wear Metro extended further into Wearside are being discussed later.

The North East Combined Authority is due to discuss the possibilities linking the light rail network more usefully to other rail lines - some of which are currently disused.

Metro train

Frustrated passengers will be pleased to hear that among the improvements being discussed today will also be plans to replace the Metro's outdated Pacer trains with a whole new fleet. 

The North East Combined Authority will talk about introducing trains to Newcastle's West End, the Metrocentre, south east Northumberland, Sunderland's south, and direct trains between South Shields and Wearside. 

We'll have more on this in Look North at 18:30.

Travel: A1 Western Bypass blocked after two-lorry accident

BBC Travel

 The A1 Western Bypass in Gateshead is blocked and there's slow traffic northbound between the Metro Centre and Blaydon because of an accident involving two lorries. 

Congestion is to the Coalhouse Roundabout. 

And there's queuing traffic and severe delays on the A1(M) southbound between J62, A690 (Carrville) and J61, A177 (Bowburn) because of an accident involving several vehicles earlier on. 

All lanes have now been re-opened. Congestion is back to J63, A167 (Chester-le-Street).  

Get the latest ravel news for Tyne and Wear and Teesside here. 

Disgraced footballer Adam Johnson 'renews appeal bid'

Former Sunderland and Middlesbrough footballer Adam Johnson has lodged a renewed appeal bid against his conviction and sentence for sex offences against a 15-year-old girl, his sister says.

Faye Johnson tweeted that legal documents were lodged yesterday:

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Johnson, 28, was jailed for six years after being found guilty of sexual touching, but not guilty on a charge relating to another sex act.

He had previously admitted grooming the girl and one charge of sexual activity.

Earlier this month, Johnson was refused permission to appeal against his conviction by a judge, but was told he could lodge a renewed appeal before the end of July.  

Adam Johnson
PA/Durham Police

Get set for the hottest day of the year

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

Today is expected to be the hottest day of the year.

It will be a hot, sunny day and rather humid across much of the region. 

Abbie Dewhurst

Inland there's a low chance of a thundery shower through the afternoon and evening. It will feel cooler towards coast, but temperatures should stay high, with a peek of about 30C. 

Later this evening cloud is likely to spread across from the west, with an increasing risk of thundery showers. 

Get your full weather forecast here.

Former Newcastle strikers meet up after leg break

Former Newcastle United strikers Obafemi Martins and Demba Ba have met up after Ba suffered a horrific broken leg during a match.

Ba went down in the 63rd minute following a challenge from Shanghai SIPG's Sun Xiang during a Chinese Super League match in Shangai.

Martins also plays for Ba's club Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.

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Star Wars memorabilia sale could net £500,000

A rare collection of Star Wars memorabilia from around the world is expected to fetch up to £500,000 when it goes to auction.

Amassed over 40 years by a French collector, many of the figures come from places including Mexico and Japan.

Star Wars toys

One of the most prized pieces includes an unpainted L-slot rocket-firing Boba Fett prototype which is expected to fetch £15,000 - £20,000.

Other items include vintage Yoda, Luke Skywalker and Jawa figures.

The two-day sale at Vectis Auctions in Stockton ends tomorrow.