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  1. Updates Wednesday 20 July 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

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

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 with more news, sport, weather and travel updates.

Fancy getting in touch? You can contact us on TwitterFacebook, or via email at

Weather: Possible heavy showers, but mostly warm sunshine

BBC Weather

One or two evening heavy showers or thunderstorms are possible, but otherwise a fine end to the day with some warm sunshine. 

These will soon ease, leaving it dry overnight, with clear spells. 

Perhaps the odd patch of mist forming. 

Check the forecast where you are.

Weather graph

North East MPs enter dog competition

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

Berwick Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan and her dog Trouble are hoping to win the award for Westminster's dog of the year.

Yep, apparently you can now vote for your favourite political dog.

According to her owner, Trouble has the largest dog fan club in Northumberland and has won the dog agility course at Netherwitton fete.

If Ms Trevelyan was Prime Minister for a day, she would have "zero rating of VAT on all dog food".

Anne-Marie Trevelyan and her dog
The Kennel Club

Redcar Labour MP Anna Turley has also entered the competition.

Her dog Clem is five years old and one of his greatest achievements was walking 22 miles for the Great North Ambulance over the North Yorkshire Moors.

Anna Turley and dog
The Kennel Club

Property burgled in Middlesbrough

Various items were stolen from a property in Middlesbrough yesterday.

The burglary occurred between 17:30 and 19:30 on Thackeray Grove.

Stolen items included two laptops and a Next order containing clothing and a lamp.

Council plans to spend whole budget on monument

A council is proposing to spend its entire annual budget on a monument.

Spennymoor Town Council is proposing to put a pit wheel on a roundabout to honour the town's mining heritage.

But some residents say the money could be better spent.  

Watch the video below and tell us what you think here.

Spennymoor Town Council monument plans criticised

Newcastle woman jailed for property fraud

A woman has been jailed for five-and-a-half years for property fraud offences committed in Northumberland and across the country.

Lynn Alexander Harrison, 47, also known as Anna or Anouska Onassis, of Benton Road, Newcastle, was found guilty of 10 counts of fraud on 31 March.

The offences involved fraudulently obtaining tenancies and bank accounts.  

Lynn Alexander Harrison
Northumbria Police

She also pleaded guilty to witness intimidation on 24 May.

She was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday for these offences.

Harrison was also given restraining orders against all five of the landlords who have been a victim.  All of the orders are for an indefinite period of time.

Man suffers cardiac arrest in Hartlepool

A man was airlifted to hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest in Hartlepool today.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) was called to Owton Manor at 09:35.

The doctor and paramedic crew took the 29-year-old man to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where he arrived in a critical but stable condition.

Air ambulance at the scene

Universities announce fees above £9,000 limit

Sean Coughlan

BBC News, education correspondent

Universities in England are already announcing a tuition fee increase above the £9,000 limit before Parliament has even finished debating plans which would pave the way to raise fees.

Tuition fees for 2017 are listed on Durham, Kent and Royal Holloway websites as £9,250.

MPs debating tuition fees in the House of Commons today heard warnings there could be "significant rises".

The government wants to link fee increases to teaching quality.

Durham University website
Durham University

Man burned in homophobic attack

A 20-year-old man needed skin grafts after his legs were set alight.

The incident took place at about 03:00 today, when the victim was walking through the grounds of Holy Trinity Church on Yarm Lane, Stockton.

A group of four men confronted the man and began questioning the him about his sexual orientation, comments which he ignored.

One of the men then approached him from behind and sprayed an aerosol can at his legs, which he then set alight, causing burns to the his calves.

The men then made off towards Yarm Lane.

The man who lit the aerosol is white, in his early 20s, medium build, with short blonde hair. He was bare-chested.

The victim was taken North Tees University Hospital where he received treatment to his burns.

Approval for harbour seals potash mine plans

The final part of a £2.4bn potash mine on the North York Moors has been given approval. 

The developer Sirius Minerals said the go ahead had been given by the government for the port facilities at Teesside docks. 

It will be linked to the mine by a 23-mile (37km) long tunnel. 

The company says the mining operation would create more than 1,000 jobs, but opponents claimed it it would damage the landscape and wildlife.

Teesport cranes
Geograph / Mick Garratt

Negredo pens loan deal at The Riverside

And here's the confirmation of Alvaro Negredo's arrival on Teesside:

View more on twitter

New England manager not to be 'short-term mercenary'

The new England manager must not be a "short-term mercenary", the Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn has said.

Glenn is heading up a three-man selection panel, alongside FA technical director Dan Ashworth and vice-chairman David Gill, which has already spoken to "a handful" of candidates including front-runner Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce.

Their respective clubs, Sunderland and Hull, have both called on the FA toconclude its search for Roy Hodgson's successor as soon as possible.

According to Glenn, the new man must be someone who is passionate about the role and willing to help build a strong identity throughout the FA's representative sides. 

Sam Allardyce

County Durham council proposes to spend entire budget on monument

Adam Clarkson

BBC Tees

Spennymoor Town Council has proposed spending £150,000 on a monument to promote the town's mining heritage.

The Pit Wheel would be put on a roundabout on the A688, and would use up its annual budget of £84,000.

Other services, such as hosting community events and maintaining children's play areas, would have to be put on hold. 

A public consultation will take place for residents to put forward their opinions and vote on how the council's money should be spent. 

The roundabout

Middlesbrough seal loan deal for Negredo

BBC Sport

Middlesbrough have agreed to sign Alvaro Negredo on a season-long loan deal from Valencia, reliant on paperwork.

Negredo, 30, spent two seasons in the Premier League previously with Manchester City, scoring 23 goals in 50 games at the club, but only started 30 times.

Valencia signed him for £19m last summer.

He is the second Spanish signing with Champions League experience to join Middlesbrough in recent weeks, after former Barcelona and Manchester United goalkeeper victor Valdes signed earlier this month.

Alvaro Negredo
Getty Images

BreakingBoro sign Negredo from Valencia

Middlesbrough have announced they have agreed a deal to sign striker Alvaro Negredo from Valencia on a season-long loan. 

More to follow.

Chamber reacts to unemployment figures

As we reported earlier, the latest unemployment figures have been released.

Employment in the region remains at a record high.

The North East's Chamber of Commerce Policy Adviser Paul Carbert responded to these figures by highlighting the importance of ensuring that young people have the skills to work after leaving the education system.

He added: "The North East has seen the largest increase in the employment rate over the past year of any region. Although the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, we have seen a welcome fall in the economic inactivity rate since March-May 2015."

Travel: Train signalling restored

Signalling in Newcastle has been restored following a lightning strike, National Rail has confirmed.

However, disruptions should still be expected.

View more on twitter

More travel updates here.

Motorcyclist dies after hitting road signs

A motorcyclist has died after his bike left the road and hit two road signs.

The biker, believed to be a man in his mid-50s, was riding the motorcycle on the A689 towards Crook.

The vehicle left the A689 West Road near High Woodfield West Farm and collided with two road signs before coming to rest in a hedge shortly after 17:30 yesterday.

The motorcyclist was confirmed dead at the scene.

How do pets handle the heat?

BBC Tees

Most of us will be enjoying this heatwave that we've been having, getting out to the beach and the park.

it was a scorching 31 C yesterday.

But this weather is not so great for everyone, especially not our pets.

Our reporter Louise Hobson was over at Great Ayton RSPCA to get some top tips.

You can listen live here.

View more on twitter

Northumberland lightning strike caught on camera

It's been a mixed day so far weather-wise, to say the least.

After yesterday's blisteringly hot sunshine, today has seen dramatic storms break out across the region.

This picture of lightning at Thropton, near Rothbury, was taken by Suzanne Oliver. Quite spectacular, we think you'll agree.

Lightning at Thropton, near Rothbury
Suzanne Oliver

Elderly man in critical condition after falling from chair

An elderly man was flown to hospital after falling from a garden chair and hitting his head.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) was called to Spennymoor, County Durham, at 17:30 yesterday, where a 78-year-old man had fallen asleep on a garden chair and fell off, hitting his head on a patio.

He suffered a serious head injury and the GNAAS doctor and paramedic crew gave him a blood transfusion at the scene before he was flown to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where he was in a critical condition.


Newcastle North Labour MP backs Smith

It's the last day for Labour supporters to pay to register to vote in the party's leadership election - with nominations closing tonight.

Jeremy Corbyn is being challenged by one other candidate, Owen Smith, after Angela Eagle withdrew from the contest.

Catherine McKinnell, the Labour MP for Newcastle North, is backing Mr Smith.

She said: "Owen Smith has put forward a whole policy platform that we can all get behind that shows how we're going to deliver on those socialist values that we all share

"Jeremy Corbyn in 10 months has not delivered on the promises of his socialist ideals - non of it has been translated into practical policies."

View more on twitter

Families of Iraq servicemen and women launch legal campaign in wake of Chilcot report

Sunderland Echo


A Wearside mum whose son was one of the youngest servicemen to die in the Iraq war has joined other families as they launch a crowd-funded legal battle against former prime minister Tony Blair.

Mother of Iraq victim
Sunderland Echo

Hartlepool resident: 'Morale is really low'

Richard Moss

Political Editor, BBC Look North

This week marks a month since Britain voted to leave the European Union.

Hartlepool is one of many largely Labour-supporting northern towns that delivered a big Leave vote in the EU referendum.

So how do they feel now?

Hartlepool: 'Morale is really low'

Kevin Nolan was inadvertent 'middle man' in hamper con

Former Newcastle United player Kevin Nolan was an inadvertent "middle man" in a Christmas hamper con in which West Ham players and staff lost thousands of pounds, a court has heard.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce told the court yesterday that the fraudster who conned him was 'extremely smart'.

Kevin Nolan
Getty Images

Travel: Trains between Darlington and Newcastle cancelled

BBC Travel

All train services between Darlington and Newcastle have been suspended due to lightning damage to the signalling system.

You can follow the latest updates on the disruptions here.

Infrastructure 'still faces flood risk'

Roger Harrabin

BBC environment analyst

Britain's roads, bridges, railways, hospitals, electricity, gas, water and internet remain at risk from floods, a government review will admit.

It will say some services – such as electricity – are increasingly protected from extreme rains but others - like telecoms - lag behind.

BBC News understands the study will say rainfall should be managed from the source of the river to the sea.

The review was prompted by December's floods in the North of England.

People on a dinghy
Getty Images

Man stabbed in South Tyneside

A 21-year-old man was stabbed in South Tyneside on Monday, police say.

The incident took place in a lane at the back of Prince Edward Road towards The Nook in South Shields at about 22:10.

It is believed the victim was with a friend in a white car while the attacker was in a black car.

The 21-year-old victim suffered serious but non life-threatening injuries and is currently in hospital.

Bike show returns to Durham

BikeWise, the annual bike show, is returning for the 22nd time on Sunday.

Among the many attractions will be Darlington-based stunt rider Dave Coates and Isle of Man TT legend John McGuinness.

Freestyle motocross rider Jamie Squibb will showcase his death-defying stunts, while mountain bike display riders 3SIXTY will show off their technical ability.

Police Interceptors are set to meet fans while police dogs are preparing to entertain the crowds.

Here's a picture of Durham Constabulary's very own hairy biker:

Dog on a bike
Durham Constabulary

The event will be held at Durham Constabulary’s HQ this Sunday.

Unemployment drops in the North East

The latest unemployment figures are in.

It's good news for the North East as unemployment has fallen by 8,000 in the second quarter of the year, meaning that 7.4% of people are currently out of work.

In total, 96,000 people are unemployed, the Office for National Statistics says.

The total UK unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9%, the lowest since July 2005.

Neven Subotic's transfer to Middlesbrough 'breaks down'

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

The Northern Echo is reporting that Neven Subotic's transfer to Middlesbrough has broken down.

The Serbian defender was expected to join the team in Marbella this week after an agreement with Borussia Dortumund over a fee was reached last week.

But Subotic’s move has reportedly collapsed, and it is unlikely that it will be revived.

Neven Subotic
Getty Images

Armed robbery at North Tyneside store

A masked man walked into a store in North Tyneside, armed with a weapon and demanded cash, police have confirmed.  

The incident happened at Booze Buster in The Boulevard in Longbenton at about 12:40 on Monday.

The man left with an undisclosed amount of cash, and a staff member was left shocked but unhurt.

The offender is a white man in his late teens to mid 30s, and average height.

The Boulevard, Longbenton

North East leaders clash during crunch meeting over devolution for the region

The Journal


Extra police for Sunderland Airshow

The Sunderland Airshow is making a comeback this weekend.

While organisers of the event take care of safety up in the sky, Northumbria Police is ensuring that it's equally as safe down on the ground.

Extra officers will be on patrol throughout the weekend in and around the airshow grounds as well as across the city. 

They will also be on the seafront in Seaburn and Roker to make sure the area is not being used for underage drinking and anti-social behaviour. 

Sunderland Airshow
Getty Images

Middlesbrough lose 2-1 in Marbella as Ramirez returns

Middlesbrough lost 2-1 to Real Betis in the first game of their training camp in Marbella yesterday - Jordan Rhodes got Boro's goal.

The real interest surrounded the late appearance of Gaston Ramirez, who played for 10 minutes of the match.

The Uruguyan midfielder hasn't completed his transfer to The Riverside but Boro say they were given special permission to play him while the details of his three-year deal are finalised. 

Gaston Ramirez
Getty Images

Teenage boy who had bike stolen given replacement

A 14-year-old who had his bike stolen has been presented with another one.

Samuel Leone had his bike stolen when he was robbed on Friday 8 July in Crescent Road, Middlesbrough.

Following a competition at the recent Mela event in Middlesbrough, he was provided with a replacement by Cleveland's Police and Crime Commissioner and Environment City.

He was handed it on Monday at the Cycle Centre in Middlesbrough Bus Station.

View more on twitter

Model who appeared on Geordie Shore dies

A glamour model who had appeared in the reality TV series Geordie Shore has died after falling from a flat

Aimee Spencer, known by her stage name Carla Mai, suffered critical injuries after falling from a first-floor window in Chichester Terrace, Brighton, on 11 July.

The 27-year-old died at the city's Royal Sussex County Hospital on Monday, a week after the fall.

Police have arrested a 28-year-old man from Brighton on suspicion of attempted murder. 

The Sun has the story on its front page today:

The Sun front page
The Sun

You can see more of today's front pages here.

Funeral director 'abused boy at parlour'

A boy was grabbed from a public toilet, bundled into a car and sexually abused at a funeral parlour, a court heard.

Hartlepool funeral director Gerald Martin, 66, pictured on the right below, is accused of sexually abusing five teenage boys over a 20-year period from the 1970s.

Mr Martin, of Valley Close, denies all the charges.

Teesside Crown Court heard the alleged abuse came to light in 2013 when a man told a nurse he had been assaulted.

A man (left) and Gerald Martin (right)